Could Bad Bacteria Be Keeping You Fat?
Written by: Kusha Karvandi
When most people embark on their journey to accomplish a fat loss goal, one of the last things taken into consideration is bacteria. What most people don’t realize is that over 90% of the cells in the human body are bacteria cells. I’d say that massive proportion elicits at least some consideration before jumping into a diet or exercise program.
One of the most interesting things regarding bacteria when it comes to weight loss is that there have been studies that have shown a correlation between body type (slim or obese) and gut bacteria composition.
In one study, bacteria from naturally thin people – the type of people who can “eat anything” and don’t gain a pound – was taken and implanted in the gut of obese people. The result? The obese group lost weight.
Guess what happened when they did the reverse, placing the gut bacteria from the obese group into the slim group? The slim group gained weight! So it’s not all about calories-in vs calories-out after all (big surprise).
Another interesting finding was how bad gut bacteria can increase toxicity in the body. As you probably assumed, increased blood toxicity isn’t a good thing and not just for weight loss, but also for cognition, aging, inflammation status and general health.
There are many toxins that can result from bad bacteria, but the main toxins I want to discuss are trans fats.
What are trans fats?
You may be more familiar with trans fats from the salty goodness of your average bag of potato chips, or your common cooking oils (i.e. canola oil). Basically, trans fats are a mutated form of fatty acids that can wreak havoc on the body.
In the food industry, we see them hidden in packaged goods because they are favorable for a cheap production process (which means more profits for big companies like Lays). And this was allowed, believe it or not, by our own government for years until recently. Yes, the FDA has finally released a statement saying:
“Based on a thorough review of the scientific evidence, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today finalized its determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods, are not ‘generally recognized as safe’ or GRAS for use in human food. Food manufacturers will have three years to remove PHOs from products.”
Whew! At least now we don’t need to worry (as much) about trans fats from our foods. Well, here’s the kicker – your body actually produces its own trans fats. What?! Why would our body do such a thing?
When your bad gut bacteria colonizes and overrules your gut microbiome, it can actually convert (hydrogenate) polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) into trans fatty acids. This type of conversion is typically seen in ruminant animals such as cows and lamb, which have multiple stomachs and long digestive tracts designed to ferment, digest and metabolize plants.
These ruminant animals produce some trans fats, which are then occasionally passed on to us through meat or dairy consumption. But, seeing as we are not ruminant animals, we shouldn’t be producing them in large quantities on our own.
When these fats are oxidized in the body (think of oxidation like rust), it cascades like a firecracker, sending a widespread immunological and inflammatory response. This, of course, can lead to many things like decreased thyroid function and slowed metabolism, but also arterial plaque and potentially even the amyloid plaque, which is characterized in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
The moral of the story is, don’t neglect your gut health. If you have a history of digestive issues or you’ve struggled with long-term weight loss, consider taking a probiotic supplement such as Biotic Balance, which has 10 strains of beneficial bacteria and over 50 billion colony forming units to repopulate your healthy gut bacteria and keep your immune system and every other major function in your body working strong and efficiently.
Kusha Karvandi is an entrepreneur and fitness enthusiast with a passion for "biohacking" to help others live their best life. Kusha has 9 years experience as a personal trainer and health club manager, with over 10,000 session hours serviced and 15 certifications. He is the author of Nutriscribe, known for its no-nonsense, no calorie counting approach to weight loss and healthy eating. To round out his passion for helping others get in shape, Kusha has made it his mission to ensure that everyone has a unique personal training experience through his app, Exerscribe, which provides custom and adaptable workout plans to anyone with a gym membership.
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