Struggling with weight loss? Here’s an unexpected news flash: there’s a major connection between gut health and weight loss. Essentially, the health of your gut may be what’s stopping you from losing those extra pounds.
Yes, you heard that correctly.
Although you may think your puffy gut is a result of your inability to lose weight, the truth is likely the exact opposite: your unhealthy gut is the cause of all the extra weight you’re carrying.
I’m going to break this all down for you, but before I do, here’s another shocker: your gut is considered the outside of your body.
It certainly sounds odd, but think of it this way: when you eat something, the digestive pathway the food follows through your gut and out your anus is considered outside of your body.
It’s only when something passes through the lining of your intestinal barrier and into the rest of your body that it’s technically “inside” of you.
I’m pointing this out because it’s key to understanding how your gut makes it hard for you to lose weight.
This intestinal barrier is essentially a fortress wall around the castle that is your body. When this line of defense is breached, you become prone to poor gut health—imbalanced bacteria, also known as dysbiosis.
Once you’re in this awful state, compromised health often follows, as well as—you guessed it—unwanted weight gain. Let’s take a look at the connection between gut health and weight loss and how it may be affecting you.
Gut Health and Weight Loss: The Basics
1. The Danger of Inflammation
Were you to look at a healthy gut lining under a microscope, you’d see its walls are full of tiny pores.
These pores ferret away food digested in your stomach to your liver for processing before the nutrients and energy they contain can be used by your body.
That’s normally what’s supposed to happen, but a bad diet (like one that includes these unhealthy breakfast foods) can severely impair your digestion.
The larger, improperly digested food particles that are left over can now lodge into these little pores and irritate the lining of your gut. Over time, they widen those pores, creating an unpleasant condition known as leaky gut.
It’s called this because the condition results in larger proteins and food particles “leaking” through your gut and into your bloodstream.
This is a very bad thing.
Once this happens, your immune system goes on high alert.
After all, it’s now being invaded by all of these foreign food particles.
This five-alarm panic triggers your immune response, which in turn leads to inflammation in your gut and elsewhere.
As if this isn’t enough, this also triggers more production of cortisol, the stress hormone. It’s a dangerous chain reaction.
In a previous post, I explored 3 ways stress makes you fat. In it, we touched on how heightened cortisol levels can really pack on the belly fat. That’s what happens here. It’s the main thing to make note of regarding gut health and weight loss.
2. Estrogen Overload
An unhealthy gut also impairs your liver’s ability to get rid of excess estrogen.
You may think of estrogen as a hormone that only women have, but men have it as well, just to a lesser degree. It’s of crucial importance to the sexual health of both genders.
If you have too much estrogen in your body, it compromises your ability to lose weight. Estrogen is also pro-growth, so if you have fat cells in your body and excess estrogen, your fat is going to go through a growth spurt.
Thankfully, there’s an enzyme in your liver called beta-glucuronidase, which helps to speed estrogen metabolism and secrete it out of the body.
If you have an abundant amount of beta-glucuronidase in your gut, then you have nothing to worry about. However, an unhealthy gut limits the production of beta-glucuronidase.
The result? Excess estrogen and increased fat storage.
3. A Little Thing Called LPS
When your gut is compromised, it becomes home to billions of bad bacteria. Like all living organisms, they excrete waste.
That’s right, your bad bacteria goes number two.
When they do this, they give off a form of toxic secretion known as lipopolysaccharides—LPS for short.
These LPS can then escape into the bloodstream, create inflammation and overburden your liver.
That’s not all; LPS directly increase the size of your fat cells, and research has also shown that they increase your number of new fat cells. They’re such tiny things, but they can make a huge difference, especially in the size of your belly.
As you can see, eliminating the LPS at play in your body and restoring gut health is key.
4. Thyroid Troubles
The final connection between gut health and weight loss lies in how your gut affects your thyroid health.
The thyroid secretes two hormones which are crucial to the proper functioning of your body—T4 and T3.
T4 is converted into T3, which is essentially the mechanism through which your cells throughout your body are activated. However, if T3 is not reaching your cells or if T4 is not being converted to T3, your cells are not going to be metabolically active. I talk more about low thyroid and weight loss here.
This is a huge problem as 20 percent of the conversion of T4 into T3 happens in your gut.
That means if your intestinal health is out of whack—populated with more bad bacteria than good bacteria—your T4 conversion is going to drop drastically.
As a result, you’re going to feel sluggish, you’re going to have dry, brittle hair, skin, and nails, and you’re also going to have a tough time losing weight—all classic symptoms of low thyroid function.
Undoing all of this damage can be quite a mission, but I map out all the connections between gut health and weight loss—and how to repair their relationship—for you in my latest book The All-Day Fat-Burning Diet.
By following the simple guidelines it lays out, you can reset your metabolism to lose up to five pounds per week.
It’s really very simple: tend to your healthy gut flora and weight loss soon follows. This is one of the cornerstone principles of my place.
Unlike other diet and fitness plans, The All-Day Fat-Burning Diet is not about restriction or deprivation.
Nor is it about having you eat all the time in a misguided attempt to “boost” your metabolism.
Instead, I share with you a unique 5-day food-cycling formula that is very intuitive and natural to your body’s natural rhythms. It helps you lose weight almost effortlessly.
The biological processes in our bodies are complex and often confusing, but getting them to work in your favor doesn’t have to be. With The All-Day Fat-Burning Diet, you’ll have a handy guide to getting your gut in brilliant health to keep you slim, trim and happy.
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Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.