When Your Gut Gets in the Way

When Your Gut Gets in the Way

When Your Gut Gets in the Way

Have you tried most methods to shed some pounds but somehow don’t seem to be able to achieve effective results? Did it ever cross your mind that the state of your digestive health could be a hindrance to your weight management plan? In this feature, we explore the possibilities of it.

A Bacterial Filled Environment

Just within your gut alone, can you imagine that there are between 500 and 1,000 species of bacteria making your gut their home? Sounds disgusting? There’s no doubt about it that our lives depend on them and they affect the quality too.

Among these species of bacteria there are good and bad ones that have different roles to play. It’s interesting to note that activity in the gut has a direct impact on where the calories go in our body. From various medical studies, there is growing evidence showing that the microbes in our gut have an influence on our metabolism. These studies shed light that certain bacteria in the gut can cause it to extract more calories from the food that we consumed, leading to weight gain.

According to Dr Abel Soh, Specialist in Endocrinology & Consultant, Raffles Diabetes & Endocrine Centre, a US study showed evidence that higher levels of methane and hydrogen were found in people who had higher BMI and higher proportion of body fat.

A gut bacterium called Methanobrevibacter Smithii (M. Smithii) is responsible for the production of methane in the gut. This bacterium is beneficial as it helps to extract energy and nutrients from food. But this will no longer be the case if the gut contains too much of it because this leads to weight gain.

Researchers suggest that M.Smithii does not do so directly. Instead, it affects its neighbouring bacteria by feeding on hydrogen from other microrganisms. This in turn gives hydrogen a boost, making them more efficient to extract more nutrients and calories from food. Thus, this is what that results in eventual weight gain.

What’s the Remedy?

The calories that you consume in your diet are meant to either build your body’s tissues such as muscles and bone mass, or to be expended for energy. In order for either of these to take place, it is important to ensure that sufficient nutrients are absorbed in your system.

Paying more attention to foods that aid in your digestive health is one way to get it back into functioning at its peak. Besides this, maintaining a regular exercise regime and adjusting it appropriately to counter the imbalance of a gradual lowering in metabolic rate, due to ageing, goes hand in hand with a healthy diet to overcome unwanted weight gain.

We understand that our metabolism tend to slow down with age. “Therefore, people who are overweight should be aware of this. They would have to compensate the drop in metabolic rate with healthier diet and more exercise,” explained Dr Stanley Liew, Specialist in Endocrinology & Consultant, Raffles Diabetes & Endocrine Centre.

In addition, when your body is unable to eliminate waste properly due to poor digestion, it will suffer from toxic build-up. Many toxins can cause your body to retain body fat and excess water. The result is sluggishness and difficulty in losing weight.

Don’t forget, sufficient sleep is also needed for your body to do its necessary repair works. And, try to steer clear of stress, which can disrupt the hormones in your body that could lead to excess eating and finally an increased in unwanted body fat.

Have you been believing in a lie? Here are three of the common myths about how your stomach works.