Introduction to Gut Health and Fat Loss
An unhealthy gut can limit our ability to lose fat. Luckily, there are many ways to boost our gut health that will aid in fat loss. Fat loss occurs when you burn more calories than you consume, and this is controlled by our metabolism. A healthy gut impacts how well our metabolism functions.
Does Being Overweight Impact your Gut Health?
There have been many studies into the health risks associated with being overweight. A study involving 292 observing metabolic markers in the gut found that overweight participants had lower gut bacteria diversity,1 which suggests that their guts were less healthy as we need diversity in the gut microbiome.
The study also showed that participants that were overweight had higher levels of C-reactive protein, which is an inflammatory marker in the blood.1 This suggests that being overweight correlates with having inflammation, which can be damaging to the body.
Inflammation is a necessary part of the immune system, but excess inflammation can change the way our bodies use fats and carbohydrates. This can lead to diabetes due to high blood sugar levels.2
The Gut-Brain Axis and Fat Loss
Our gut and brains very cleverly communicate through complex signals constantly to ensure our bodies are working optimally. Our gut sends a signal to our brain through a short-chain fatty acid called propionate telling us if we’re hungry or full.3
Studies have shown that those with higher propionate levels ate less food as they were receiving signals telling them they were full more accurately than those with lower levels.4 This meant that they gained less weight.
This suggests that increasing propionate levels can stop us from overeating, allowing us to lose fat rather than adding additional fat.
Exercise, The Gut and Fat Loss
It’s well known that exercise and fat loss have a positive correlation, but the impact on the gut from exercise is less well known. Exercise in any form increases blood flow to the muscles throughout the digestive system which helps our food move along the digestive tract more efficiently.5
Research has shown that exercise can help balance our gut microbiome. A balanced and healthy gut microbiome allows our immune system to function well, prevents the growth of pathogenic bacteria and allows our bodies to make use of the food we eat.5
This means that exercise has the potential to aid in fat loss by balancing the gut microbiome and improving our body's overall performance. If our food is digested properly and we are gaining the correct nutrients, we will be stronger, healthier and less likely to overeat.
Probiotics, The Metabolism and Fat Loss
Probiotics are known to be a fantastic tool in achieving and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. Probiotics feed the existing good bacteria allowing them to thrive and repopulate, whilst also adding new strains of good bacteria to the gut microbiome.
Having more good bacteria means there’s less room for the bad bacteria (pathogenic) to repopulate and cause harm.
Good bacteria in the gut and having a balanced microbiome help to manage your metabolism.6 Our basal metabolic rate (BMR) is in simple terms, the number of calories we need to survive in a resting state; just the body's bare minimum function.7
Our bodies burn calories constantly. If you have a low BMR, your metabolism is slower meaning you burn fewer calories in periods of inactivity than those with a high BMR.8 Knowing your BMR can help you to understand how many calories you need to consume to lose weight.
You need to put in fewer calories than you burn to lose weight. Fat comes from an excess of calories, so to lose it, you need to limit your calorie intake.
If you want to increase your BMR, the best way to do so is to increase muscle mass. Muscle cells use more energy than fat cells, so you will burn more calories naturally the more muscle you have.9
Fat loss can be hard to achieve, and it’s important to look at your body's health before deciding to do so. We always recommend consulting your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Eating disorders are more prevalent than they ever have been, and we urge you to take care of yourself however best works for you.
This article is intended to educate you on the science behind fat loss, health, how it is linked to the gut and how we can shed fat if necessary, NOT to encourage fat loss based on appearances.