Strictly speaking it’s not your gut that might be making us fat but our gut bacteria.

The gut is one of my favourite bodily systems. The more I read the more I realise how little we know and the more I want to know (maybe that’s the nerd in me).  I think poo is fascinating. In another life perhaps I should have been a poo-ologist. 

It is nothing new that gut bacteria influences our mood and immunity. We also now know that the bacteria in our gut tells us to eat sugary foods or fatty goods (yep you heard me it is not your fault that you wanted to eat that custard tart it was the bugs’ fault).  They also determine how much energy (calories) we actually extract from the food we eat. What this means is that they can determine how much weight we put on or keep on. 

A world-first New Zealand study has also just shown that changing your gut bacteria not only reduces abdominal fat but can also reverse pre-diabetes (aka metabolic syndrome). 

The study was conducted by the Liggins Institute (Auckland University) on 87 teenagers aged between 14 – 18 years old. They were all obese and many of them had metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome includes high blood pressure, high amounts of fat in the blood, high amounts of glucose and insulin and excess abdominal fat. This can lead to heart attacks, stroke and of course Diabetes Type 2. 

The teenagers were given either plain capsules (placebo) or ‘crapsules’. The ‘crapsules’ contained isolated bacteria from healthy and lean poo donors. 

By the end of the 26 week trial 75% of those given the crapsules no longer had metabolic syndrome and had substantially reduced their tummy fat.

The teenagers hadn’t lost general weight so the researchers are now focusing on conducting the same experiment but controlling the diet next time. 

What is fascinating is that they analysed the stools of the teenagers before and after the study and found that there was an increased amount of a bacteria called Akkermansia after the 26 weeks (1).

Akkermansia strengthens the wall of our gut and can also reduce inflammation.  Obese mice that have been fed Akkermansia have shown a reduction in weight and also diabetes. 

Two things that have been shown to increase Akkermansia naturally are

1) eating foods rich in polyphenols, and 

2) fasting. 

Polyphenol rich foods include cocoa, dark chocolate, olives, tea, red wine, coffee, berries, grapes and herbs. OMG all my favourite foods. Akkermansia also likes colourful veggies and fruits and fish oils. Plus fibre rich foods and of course fermented foods will also do wonders for your gut. 

Akkermansia feed on the mucus on your gut wall so constantly eating and grazing will decrease their number. You have to stop eating to allow them the time to digest the mucus and for the bacteria that thrive on food to bugger off.  Another good reason to try intermittent fasting or time restricted eating (2, 3)

Processed, refined foods, eating high amounts of saturated, poor quality fats and drinking lots of alcohol reduce Akkermansia. 

If you are interested in finding out about your own gut microbiome, want to know more about fasting or whether your diet is Akkermansia friendly then please contact me. 

Join the 3 day Mindful Eating Reset on 29 -31st January. Click here for more information and to sign up or sign up for my nutrition Course, ‘Eat Well Feel Well’, click here to find out more information.

I am also about to launch a few coaching packages for nutrition, wellbeing, life and weight loss so let me know if you are interested by going to the CONTACT ME page and sending me a message.

 

 

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