Get to know your gut bacteria and unlock your personal weight loss and disease risk secrets.
Infamous diets of the past 30 years have focused on carbohydrate intake or the GI (glycaemic index) rating score as means to control energy intake, but a look at several studies suggests that in fact lower GI scores don’t necessarily have an impact on reducing body weight.
The GI diets categorise carbohydrates and grade them by the speed at which the body converts the carbohydrates to glucose, glucose being the sugar that supplies energy to our cells.
What really works?
Researchers have found that our gut bacteria or microbiome determines the rate at which food is broken down. The type of gut bacteria participants had in the GI studies was far more influential than the types of carbs they were eating, suggesting that calorie counting and GI ratings are an out-dated method of managing weight.
“We all have around 100 trillion bacteria mainly living in our colons (outnumbering our cells by ten to one).” Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College London
People in the US and UK are signing up to have their microbiome assessed as a part of large studies profiling population diets and lifestyles. We are also seeing the emergence of online businesses offering home microbiome test kits and extensive reports that give customers information on how they can adjust their diet to change their bacterial profile for weight loss.
The bacteria you need
Your personal microbiome helps you digest your food, fight disease and reduce inflammation. Gut bacteria has also been shown to have an effect on your mood, with researchers observing behavioural changes in mice tested with changes in their microbial make-up.
Friendly bacteria in your gut can make you calmer and less prone to anxiety, the bacteria activates the vagus nerve that connects your brain with your gut.
Your microbiome will metabolise same foods differently to the way another person with a different microbiome profile does. Which means that no single diet works for everyone in the same way.
How to care for your microbiome
- Don’t take antibiotics for viruses.
- Avoid antimicrobial cleaning products.
- Eat antibiotic free meat.
- Feed them greens. Fibre feeds good bacteria and plant-based foods help with microbial diversity.
- Feed them unprocessed foods that are low in sugar.
- Encourage the growth of good bacteria by feeding your microbiome with fermented foods, pre and probiotics.
- Spend time in nature. Expose your immune system to the good bacteria in soil by getting your hands dirty every once in a while.
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