Weight Loss & Prebiotics
We really do take for granted the amazing things that live in our bodies. Our gut is home to billions of living creatures, and while that might sound horrifying at first glance, they are in most cases extremely beneficial to us. Your gut biome not only helps keep your appetite in check and helps to digest food, but it also connects to our brains in ways scientists are only just figuring out.
When our gut health is in disarray – say when our diets consist of highly processed foods and sugar, or if we drink a lot of alcohol – our entire body goes out of whack. Gut inflammation leads to systemic inflammation through causing a leaky gut, and then signals to our brain make us irritable, hungry, depressed, or moody.
The good news is that we can change our diet and improve our gut health with pro-and-prebiotic foods and supplements. When our gut is healthy, we crave less bad food, and weight loss, in general, is easier. Let’s take a look at how prebiotic supplements help with weight loss.
What is Dysbiosis?
Before we understand why prebiotic food and supplements are so important, we have to understand how our gut works. It’s filled with billions of microorganisms that help us digest food, and in turn, they help make the energy we need to exist. The beneficial processes of gut bacteria help us utilize nutrients in our food as well.
If you have a bad diet, take too many antibiotics, or suffer a nasty stomach virus, your gut biome gets out of order. Too many bacteria that crave sugar, for instance, can take over when you eat a poor diet. This in turn makes you crave sugar.
Gut dysbiosis can also cause leaky gut syndrome, which makes your gut wall highly permeable. This allows bacteria to leak into the bloodstream, causing inflammation all over the body. Inflammation can depress your mood, making you feel bad in general, and can cause actual long-term damage.
How can I Fix Poor Gut Health?
To fix your gut health for weight loss or just in general, the first place to start is with your diet. If you eat a diet high in processed, sugary foods, you need to:
- Dramatically reduce the amount of processed food you eat. This includes most packaged starchy, sugary, or fatty foods.
- Shop around the perimeter of the grocery store – this is where meat, cheese, dairy, and produce typically are housed. If it’s shelf-stable for a long time, it’s not good for you OR your gut.
- Reduce the amount of fast food you eat. Fast food is usually high in sugar, omega-6 oil (which causes inflammation), and other unhealthy ingredients.
Once you’ve started to eat more whole foods – plants, meats, eggs, dairy – your body will start to purge the bad bacteria. While this mass die-off of bad bacteria happens, now is the time to introduce good bacteria and help them to thrive.
Probiotic food is anything that has cultures of good gut bacteria in it. Foods like:
- Low sugar kombucha
- Low sugar yogurt, especially Greek yogurt
These foods have strains of good bacteria that can help you build up your good gut flora. While these foods get the bacteria in, you need to add prebiotic foods and supplements to help those bacteria flourish.
Prebiotics for Weight Loss
Like probiotics, prebiotic foods have a profound effect on your gut health, but instead of introducing bacteria, they feed the ones that are there. Examples of prebiotic foods are:
- Fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi
- Vegetables high in fiber, like broccoli or kale
- Chia and flax seeds
If you’re unable to get enough of these foods in your diet, however, you can turn to prebiotic supplements. There are a wide range of supplements that can fit your needs, especially if you want to use prebiotics to lose weight.
Good gut health is critical to being able to effectively lose weight, and regular prebiotic intake can help:
- Prebiotic supplements help make good bacteria thrive, which decreases inflammation
- When good bacteria thrive, bad bacteria die off, and so too does their craving for bad food
- Lower gut inflammation helps you digest food properly, and reduces the calories your body holds onto
There is evidence that prebiotics also help with mental health, and both depression and anxiety can drive disordered eating as well
Whether you’re looking to improve your overall health or lose weight, prebiotic formulations are essential to good gut health. A thriving gut microbiome can make every other part of your body work more effectively.
Once you’ve cleaned up your diet and brought in whole and fermented foods, try adding prebiotic supplements to your daily routine. Over time, you will notice a distinct difference in your overall health, wellbeing, and your weight loss efforts.