Many people in this day and age do not realize that weight gain is not completely due to high caloric intake, genetics, and laziness, but to our gut bacteria. These bacteria that live in our stomach play a role in stress response which affect the balance of hormones, the way we store food, and our overall well being.
There are two major classes of gut bacteria in the stomach which are known as Bacteriodetes (Back-Tear-Yo-Deets) and Firmicutes (Firm-A-Cutes). Think of Bacteriodetes as being healthy good bacteria and Firmicutes being unhealthy bad bacteria. There is so much that is yet to be discovered about gut bacteria and their role in digestion, brain health, and the roles they play in body function. Remember that 90% of serotonin and 50% of dopamine are actually made in the stomach! These bacteria are responsible for controlling this but the problem is that most bacteria need oxygen to thrive and survive.
If we are capable of shifting our gut bacteria and feeding them the proper types of foods we can help control our weight, our mood, and enhance our performance and energy levels. 99% of our intestinal bacteria are unable to use oxygen. Studies show that the more bacteriodetes and the less firmicutes you have, the leaner you will be! So imagine a 700 calorie burger, a person with healthy amounts of bacteriodetes may process it as 300/400 calories whereas someone with unhealthy amounts of firmicutes…yes you get the point.
In an age where we are surrounded by chemicals in cosmetics, pollution from cars, pesticides in foods, and unknown chemicals in products our stomach is constantly under stress. This stress ends up creating an imbalance between these two classes of gut bacteria and throws our hormones and neurotransmitters off the charts. Our inability to handle stress and our poor digestion ends up wreaking havoc in the body causing us to hold on to unhealthy weight or have a hard time getting rid of it (this is what stubborn fat is).
Here are a few things you can do to get your Bacteriodete/Firmicute rations in check:
- Eat more fiber. Fiber is known to feed these little critters in your stomach allowing them to nourish themselves, multiply, and aid in digestion.
- Minimize sugar intake. Now we all love to indulge every now and thats ok, but start small. Starting tip: Instead of white sugar, start using brown sugar.
- Eat beans. Ever wonder why horses are so anabolic and fit? They eat lots of beans. There are so many different kinds so try all of them until you find a fit.
- Get restful sleep. It is better to have 5 hours of quality sleep then 10 hours of disrupted sleep. Maintain a good sleep schedule.
- Eat Fruits and Vegetables. Remember if it is colorful, it is most likely good for you 🙂