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Health & Disease

Gut Health: The Secret to Physique Transformation? (Evidence Based)

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Is Gut Health the next big thing in Physique Transformation and Fat loss? Possibly so….

While a majority of weight loss and physique transformation studies have focused primarily on calorie consumption and exercise, there is a new area of study that is quickly taking the research and science world by storm.

Improving your gut health has been shown to result in impressive health benefits including improved immune function, greater fat loss, better carbohydrate tolerance, reduced cardiovascular health, less anxiety and even lower risk of cancer (1)!

In this article, I will break down everything you need to know about gut health and provide you with actionable tips on how to maximize fat loss and transform your physique with your gut!

What is Gut Health? A Quick 101 on Gut Health

Ever since we were kids we learned to think about bacteria with negative connotations: Bacteria meant that you would get sick and if you were to touch something that was dirty you’d become ill.

While there are bad bacteria that you should try to avoid, there are also good bacteria in our gut that are essential for overall well-being, health and our physique.

One main function of these micro bacteria is to help break down indigestible foods which aids in improved gastrointestinal (digestive) health and weight loss. However, the benefits of a healthy gut go way beyond simply improved digestion.

An imbalance of gut bacteria, (known medically as gut dysbiosis or dysbacteriosis), may have an influence on weight loss. A healthy gut is one that has a good balance between the two most popular families of bacteria which include Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes (2).

You may be skeptical as to how these two families of bacteria can lead to weight loss?

Well let’s take a look at the research…

gut health protocols

Early Gut Health Research on Fat Loss

One group of researchers demonstrated that lean and obese people’s ratio of Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes bacteria were drastically different.

These researchers discovered that Bacteroidetes levels were significantly lower in obese individuals compared to lean individuals. In addition, Firmicutes concentrations were much higher in obese individuals compared to lean populations (3).

To ensure it wasn’t just a random coincidence these researchers then performed a gut bacteria transplant in mice!

They took the gut bacteria from obese mice and implanted them into the gut of lean or healthy mice. In just 1 – 2 weeks, the lean mice gained large amounts of body fat and even became obese. Most shockingly, they didn’t even change their diet or exercise routine – the bad gut health made them fat! (4)

In contrast, a follow up study performed the opposite and gave obese mice some healthy bacteria. Guess what? Those obese mice became lean and healthy in just a couple of weeks due to the introduction of new healthy bacteria strains!

One of the main theories suggests that an increased amount of healthy bacteria may enable an increased amount of food to be excreted through feces instead of being absorbed and digested (5). In other words, you become better at digesting and partitioning energy and nutrients, storing less fat!

Since this research, follow-up studies have shown leaner people have better, healthier guts. New research has even looked at human ‘gut bacteria transplants’ to fix disease and obesity!

Now, can you see how your gut health COULD be the biggest barrier or issue in your results?! If you think you are doing everything right (i.e. diet and exercise) then maybe this is the missing link!

How to Optimize Gut Health to Maximize Fat Loss!

Fortunately, there are several ways to improve your gut health which can yield amazing results, especially if your diet and exercise routine are already in check!

Some of the most popular methods are built into my 90 Day Bikini Transformation plan – eating a wide variety of foods, eating foods high in fiber & resistant starch and lastly supplementing with a probiotic.

Here’s a breakdown of each…

1.) Eat a Wide Variety of Foods to Improve Gut Health

As mentioned earlier there are hundreds of different types of microbiota each with a different function within the body.

Therefore, to maximize the health benefits of each of these microbiota, a diverse colony is considered optimal.

One way to achieve this is through eating a wide variety of foods. Unfortunately, the typical western diet is composed of mainly carbohydrates, processed foods and minimal food variety from healthy whole foods.

Researchers suggest that reducing processed carbohydrate content and replacing it with more whole foods and vegetables will result in an increased diversity of microbiota giving you a healthy gut! (6).

home workouts, gut health

2.) Eat Foods High in Fiber & Resistant Starch to Improve Gut Health

Most fibers can’t be digested within the gastrointestinal tract; however high fibrous foods feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut.

Think of fibrous foods as fuel for your gut microbiota!

Another way to increase gut health is by adding more resistant starch into your diet.

Resistant starch bypasses digestion in the small intestine and instead gets fermented in the large intestine, resulting in the production of short-chain fatty acids.

Short chain fatty acids have been shown to improve bowel health, blood lipid profiles (cholesterol), micronutrient absorption (vitamins and minerals), energy and increased satiety following a meal (7)!

Resistant starch may also improve gut health by functioning as a prebiotic and symbiotic. Resistant starches have been shown to feed the good bacteria Bifidobacterium, which will ultimately result in improved weight loss (8)!

Other studies suggest that resistant starch may be superior compared to other forms of fiber for increasing satiety after a meal (9,10). In addition, resistant starch has been shown to increase fat oxidation, reduce fat storage and increase energy expenditure (metabolism) (11).

Taken together, resistant starch has been proven to increase the production of short-chain fatty acids, Bifidobacterium, as well as increase satiety (making you less likely to over-eat), and directly increase calorie expenditure!

This combo helps create an energy deficit, the key factor in weight loss…

Foods High in Resistant Starch

  • Raw potato starch
  • Raw plantain starch
  • Green bananas
  • Beans
  • Oatmeal
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Legumes
  • Rice

3.) Supplementing with a Probiotic to Improve Gut Health 

While there are multiple probiotics on the market, one with the most research to support its use in promoting gut health and weight loss appears to be Lactobacillus Gasseri.

One group of researchers performed a randomized double-blind controlled trial investigating the effects of Lactobacillus Gasseri on weight loss.

These researchers noted after 12 weeks of supplementation the group supplementing with Lactobacillus Gasseri decreased abdominal visceral fat by an average of 8.5% (12)!

While more research still needs to be done on the effects of probiotic supplementation, early research is promising and demonstrates improved gut microbiota together with increased weight loss!

Cure Your Gut Health to Cut Your Belly Fat!

Hopefully, you can now see the importance of gut health on overall health, fat loss and your physique!

  • A healthy gut is one that has a good balance between the two most popular families of bacteria which include Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes.
  • Lean people have been shown to have higher amounts of Bacteroidetes, a specific strain of gut bacteria.
  • Improving your gut health can result in improved health of the digestive system and weight loss.
  • Increasing the diversity of foods you eat, especially healthy whole foods and vegetables, has been shown to improve gut health.
  • Increasing the amount of resistant starch in your diet has been shown to increase healthy gut bacteria and increase weight loss.
  • Lastly, taking a probiotic such as Lactobacillus Gasseri may improve gut health and boost weight loss, especially when combined with a good diet and exercise routine.

If you are serious about your results and gut health, you can get my proven fat loss transformation plan that optimizes your gut health with a specific diet and supplement protocols.

Learn more HERE

References

1.) Ritchie, M. L., & Romanuk, T. N. (2012). A meta-analysis of probiotic efficacy for gastrointestinal diseases. PLoS One7(4), e34938.

2.) Walters, W. A., Xu, Z., & Knight, R. (2014). Meta‐analyses of human gut microbes associated with obesity and IBD. FEBS letters588(22), 4223-4233.

3.) Ley, R. E., Turnbaugh, P. J., Klein, S., & Gordon, J. I. (2006). Microbial ecology: human gut microbes associated with obesity. Nature444(7122), 1022.

4.) – Turnbaugh, P. J., Ley, R. E., Mahowald, M. A., Magrini, V., Mardis, E. R., & Gordon, J. I. (2006). An obesity-associated gut microbiome with increased capacity for energy harvest. nature444(7122), 1027-131.

5.)  Ogawa, A., Kobayashi, T., Sakai, F., Kadooka, Y., & Kawasaki, Y. (2015). Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 suppresses fatty acid release through enlargement of fat emulsion size in vitro and promotes fecal fat excretion in healthy Japanese subjects. Lipids in health and disease14(1), 20.

6.) Sonnenburg, E. D., Smits, S. A., Tikhonov, M., Higginbottom, S. K., Wingreen, N. S., & Sonnenburg, J. L. (2016). Diet-induced extinctions in the gut microbiota compound over generations. Nature529(7585), 212-215.

7.) Brown, I. L. (2004). Applications and uses of resistant starch. Journal of AOAC International87(3), 727-732.

8.) Brown I, Warhurst M, Arcot J et al. (1997) Fecal numbers of Bifidobacteria are higher in pigs fed Bifidobacterium longum with a high amylose cornstarch than with a low amylose cornstarch. Journal of Nutrition 127: 1822–7.

9.) Raben, A., Tagliabue, A., Christensen, N. J., Madsen, J., Holst, J. J., & Astrup, A. (1994). Resistant starch: the effect on postprandial glycemia, hormonal response, and satiety. The American journal of clinical nutrition60(4), 544-551.

10.) Willis, H. J., Eldridge, A. L., Beiseigel, J., Thomas, W., & Slavin, J. L. (2009). Greater satiety response with resistant starch and corn bran in human subjects. Nutrition Research29(2), 100-105.

11.) Higgins, J. A. (2014). Resistant starch and energy balance: impact on weight loss and maintenance. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition54(9), 1158-1166.

12.) Kadooka, Y., Sato, M., Ogawa, A., Miyoshi, M., Uenishi, H., Ogawa, H., … & Tsuchida, T. (2013). Effect of Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 in fermented milk on abdominal adiposity in adults in a randomised controlled trial. British Journal of Nutrition110(09), 1696-1703.

About the author

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Rudy Mawer, MSc, CISSN

Rudy has a 1st class BSc in Exercise, Nutrition & Health and a Masters in Exercise & Nutrition Science from the University of Tampa. Rudy currently works as a Human Performance Researcher, Sports Nutritionist and Physique Coach. Over 7 years he has helped over 500 people around the world achieve long last physique transformations.

He now works closely with a variety of professional athletes and teams, including the NBA, USA Athletics, World Triathlon Gold Medalists, Hollywood Celebrities and IFBB Pro Bodybuilders. If you would like to get in contact or work with Rudy please contact him on social media.

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