Somehow we have been led to believe that weight gain is the result of a simple energy imbalance resulting from eating too much food and exercising too little. This phenomenon is known as the calories-in/calories-out model, and its validity is being seriously questioned by scientists.
The calories-in/calories-out model does not account for what I call the gut factor — the little-known, underlying cause of weight gain. It’s why I wrote my new book, The Skinny Gut Diet.
Your gut is densely populated with 100 trillion bacteria that outnumber — by 10 times! — the number of cells that make up your entire body. Researchers are rapidly figuring out that these bacteria play an integral role in the development of obesity. In short, the gut factor explains the paradox of our previous understanding of the calories-in/calories-out model.
When you have the wrong balance of bacteria in your gut, you are more likely to gain weight. There are three main ways that gut bacteria imbalance makes you fat.
Gut Bacteria Imbalance = Extra Calories
The gut bacterial composition of obese people differs from that of lean people. It turns out that the gut bacteria of obese people are more efficient at extracting calories from food passing through the digestive tract. So if two people are fed the exact same diet, but one of them harbors the “obese microbes” — the bacteria found most commonly in obese people — and the other person is lucky enough to house the “lean microbes,” then you can guess who gains weight and who doesn’t. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take some of those lean microbes, please.
Gut Bacteria Imbalance = More Fat
Our gut bacteria respond quickly to changes in our diet. Good gut bacteria thrive on certain fibers while bad gut bacteria thrive on diets high in sugar, processed carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats (Standard American Diet, or SAD). In response to this diet, bad bacteria in the gut create toxins that damage the intestinal lining, trigger inflammation, and lead to an increased storage of fat.
Gut Bacteria Imbalance = More Cravings
Some of the biggest obstacles to implementing a new way of eating are the food cravings that accompany a new diet. While you might think your sugar and carbohydrate cravings are due to a lack of willpower, it is more likely that your microbes are actually exerting their willpower — over you!
You see, certain bacteria and other microbes feed on sugars, using them as a fuel source to reproduce and thrive. Researchers say that our bacteria may be capable of manipulating our behavior and our appetite in order to obtain more of the sugars they thrive on.
How to Balance Your Gut for Permanent Weight Loss
There are four simple rules to follow to balance your gut for permanent weight loss: