I wanted to share with you some interesting research that I have been looking at around gut health and weight loss. The concept of weight being related to gut health first came about in the early 2000's when researchers inoculated germ-free mice with the microbiome of conventional mice. What they discovered was that once the mice had the new gut flora they instantly put on weight, and became insulin resistant, even when they were fed less food and were made to exercise more. This discovery led researchers to the theory that our gut flora, in fact help us to capture more energy from our food. But before you go reaching for the antibiotics to decimate your gut flora, remember, our microbiome is our friend!
So, in an attempt to find out more, researchers took healthy lean mice and inoculated obese mice (and yes when I say inoculated, I mean they took the blended up poo from one mouse and inserted it into the bottom of another) …ok, are you still with me? The results were astonishing, the obese mice become skinnier, their blood pressure came down, their insulin sensitivity increased, and their blood sugars stabilised.
So, what was the difference between the two groups of mice? When researchers looked into this they found that obese mice had a reduction of a genre of bacteria called Bacteroidetes, and an increase in Firmicutes. In follow up investigations it was discovered that the Firmicutes in obese mice were interacting with the body in a way that caused a rise in blood pressure, a rise in cholesterol and blood lipids, interfered with the hormones that help us feel full, and created inflammation in the body by playing havoc with the immune system.
What’s more they found that this can be changed by diet. A change from a whole food diet rich in plant starches and fibres to a typical junk food diet changed the microbiome of the mice to the “obese microbiome” within one day. The good news is, that this change can occur the other way as well. In fact, just by adding in some plant based starches and fibres you can protect against the effects of junk food.
Not only that, in human studies it’s been demonstrated that adding in specific species of probiotics produces weight loss, lowered blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, decreased inflammation, improved fasting blood glucose and increased insulin sensitivity.
The specific strains that have been studied and found to have benefit are:
Bifidobacterium lactis HNO19
Lactobacillus acidophilus LA5
Bifidobacterium animalis BB12
L. delbrueckii subsp.
While you can get hold of these in a capsule, my advice is to incorporate probiotics into a healthy diet. This can be done by using these specific strains in your fermented foods, or mixing an open capsule into your daily yogurt. You can learn how to make your own "functional foods" by signing up to one of my fermentation parties.
Or come in to see me for a tailored weight loss plan.
I really appreciate all the interest that I've had for my Detox Myths series of posts on Facebook. Thank you so much for reading, liking,commenting and asking questions. I am going to start by answering these questions that came from the beautiful Tarnya McNair:
"What are the signs that your body may need a detox? and What can one expect to notice after detoxing?"
Here are the main signs that I would look out for when considering a detox...
Feeling Tired all the time...
You may want to consider a detox if you are feeling consistently fatigued, if you find it hard to wake in the morning and you are relying on stimulants like coffee, sugar and cigarettes to keep you pepped up during the day, then you would benefit from a detox. Your liver is a major organ that governs blood sugar control, along with the adrenals and of course the pancreas. If you NEEED your nanna nap in the afternoon, and you get the grumps before a meal, and you are constantly sniffing out sweets like a sugar ant, it's a sure sign that your blood sugar control is a bit out of whack and you need a reset.
What you can expect to feel after the detox:
Many people are surprised how much energy (like real energy) that they gain from doing a detox. My detox programs are a cellular clean up. Optimising cellular (mitochondrial) function is like recharging your batteries or filling the tank. So, instead of running on empty and topping up with stimulants, you have more sustained energy reserves. Most people on my detox programs find that sugar cravings become a thing of the past, because they have learned how to nourish their body i a more healthy way giving them sustained energy.
Brain fog, can't think properly....
One of the major detoxification organs is the liver, it is involved in blood glucose regulation and the filtering of toxins from the blood. What has this got to do with my brain? you say? Well the brains main source of energy is from blood glucose, so if your blood glucose is swinging wildly then your brain won't be able to function properly. An overgrowth of the yeast Candida will cause foggy brain and the accumulation of toxins in the blood stream will also affect blood flow, hydration levels and will impair your clarity of thought.
What you can expect to feel after a detox:
Once any candida is under control and your liver is functioning better you will find that you have greater clarity of thought and the clouds will lift from your head.
Digestive issues....constipation, diarrhea, reflux, ulcers, gas, bloating, wind, pain.
This is a big one! As the old and much quoted saying goes "all disease begins in the gut". Healing the digestive system is one of the main components of my detox programs. Nourishing mucous membranes, hydrating the bowel, encouraging healthy bowel function, reducing inflammation and re-balancing gut flora are an integral part of detoxing.
What you can expect to feel after a detox:
Who doesn't enjoy doing a good healthy poo?? Coome onnn!!! it's magic isn't it? Many people become desensitised to the impact that their gut issues have on other areas of their life, often told by doctors to just live with it, as there is nothing to be done..... it is not until they begin to experience good gut health that they realise how much energy it has been draining from them. And YES! there is something you can do about it! and NO! you don't just have to live with it.
Skin Problems.....rashes, psoriasis, ecezema...
Impurities in the blood, poor liver function, over growth of candida, gut issues and stress all have a big impact on the health of your skin. Detoxing address all of these issues in an wholistic way.
What you can expect after a detox:
Most people find that skin issues improve after a detox, often removing inflammatory foods (as is done in a detox diet) is of great assistance and can be a pointer for possible food intolerance. If you don't have skin issues, expect that after doing a detox you skin, hair and eyes will have a more vibrant and healthy glow. YES to that!!
Allergies and Hayfever
If you have allergies and hayfever, you can bet your bottom dollar that you've got poor liver function. Of course, as always the gut plays a major factor in any kind of allergy including any autoimmune disease.
What to expect after a detox:
Many people find that there hayfever and allergies improve after completing a detox. If the condition was mild or newly acquired then more often than not it is resolved from a good detox. Again, removing inflammatory foods while detoxing often points to any food intolerance that may need to be addressed long term.
Trouble losing weight
Think of your fat cells as a safe storage unit for toxins. When your liver becomes over burdened your body will store toxins away in fat cells to be processed- WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO..
When you do a detox, taking the burden off the liver, and decreasing your inflammatory foods, you give your body the signal- it is safe now. and THEN it begins to break down the fat stores to burn. Our body will much more readily break down muscle rather than fat to be made in to glucose when calorie intake is lower than energy expenditure. It is extremely important to maintain muscle when trying to lose weight! I can't stress that enough! We have to encourage the body to burn fat for fuel rather than muscle, that is how we reset metabolism and increase our basal metabolic rate. During my detox and weight loss program you get a weekly check on my Bio Impedance machine which measures your muscle mass, your fat percentage and your hydration. I can tell you it's fascinating!!
What you can expect after the detox
Sustained weight loss is my ultimate goal for my people wanting to lose weight, I'm not a starve yourself and lose X amount of kgs in X amount of weeks kind of Gal. Yes, some of my detox people have lost big numbers, but all of them have said that it is actually FEELING better that they most value. Feeling better means less stress, less emotional eating/drinking, and more exercise and self care. Oh look, you are probably going to lose weight too OK?!
So there you go... a few reasons to go ahead and do a good detox.
Tomorrow I will be answering a question from Mischi West on good protein sources for vegetarians....a very meaty topic (Oh god I'm sorry!!).
Melanie Turner, Naturopath, mother, gardener, lover of wholesome food