Poor Gut Health May Have Links to Obesity Crisis

September 18,2018

Thousands of years ago when agriculture and animal husbandry was first introduced, there was likely a rise in new diseases as the microbiome underwent significant changes in a relatively short time frame. Numerous studies of common dietary components on intestinal microbiota show that the consumption of particular food types produce a very predictable shift in the existing host bacteria. Microorganisms and bacteria used to produce certain foods you eat, such as cheese or cured meats, are surprisingly resilient and can colonize the gut along with species already in our microbiome. Food scientists agree that people should pay more attention to what they eat and recognize that dramatic changes to his or her diet that severely restrict dietary diversity could be "the cause" of disorders like obesity.

Gut Bacteria-Friendly Foods 

Although there have been many weight loss debates over sugar and fat consumption, fiber is a key nutrient that is often overlooked for its benefit in maintaining healthy microbiome.

  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Bananas
  • Polenta
  • Broccoli and cauliflower
  • Kale and cabbage
  • Blueberries
  • Beans and legumes
  • Fermented foods
  • Tempeh and miso

Since some of the food components included in one person's good diet can also be included in another person's bad diet, individual menu plans to combat obesity should be personalized.

Reduced Intake of Real Food May Not Be Healthy

Your gut and brain are connected through multiple pathways. When you consume a healthy diet, your gut breaks foods into smaller components that help your body maintain optimal function. Fermented foods containing live bacteria like yogurt provide a healthy source of ingestible microorganisms that may prove beneficial in regulating gut health and even preventing chronic conditions like inflammatory bowel disease. Dietary consumption of carbohydrates, protein, saturated and unsaturated fat, and dietary fiber influence the abundance and diversity of bacteria in the gut. In addition to the affect your menu plan has on your microbiota composition, prescription medications, and over-the-counter drugs are key modulators for managing your gut health. Moreover, any weight loss plan based on a reduced food intake can be expected to result in decreased overall microbial diversity, which can lead to poor and declining overall health.