When I say bugs, I mean your bacteria. Bacteria outnumber your own cells 10 to 1. The bacteria that live in your digestive track are called your 'microbiome'.
Most of your bacteria live in your digestive system - we can’t survive without them.
Their job is to help us breakdown fiber and we get the benefit from the nutrients the bacteria provide.
How do they impact our health and our weight? We know that some bacteria can make us sick.
But what about other effects of having bacteria on board?
Scientists have been uncovering the real story, I get the feeling that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Bacteria are being implicated now in more and more illnesses. We know now that stomach ulcers are caused by bacteria. There’s even evidence that bacteria are to blame for back pain.
So it shouldn’t be surprising to know that the bacteria in your gut are more in charge of what goes in your mouth than you could believe.
Studies have shown that changes in our gut bacteria can change the way that we absorb fat, carbohydrates and how we store fat.
The big issue is what your bacteria like to eat. The evidence is being uncovered that bacteria can mediate what we eat, what we store as fat and how we regulate our blood sugar levels.
If you have the wrong mix of microbes it appears that you are set up for diabetes and obesity going forwards.
Clean living is part of the problem, of the bacteria that lived in our stomach, h pylori are thought to suppress our hunger hormone - ghrelin. This means you eat less naturally.
This bacteria used to be abundant but increased use of antibiotics and the more hygienic living conditions we have now has reduced its numbers dramatically.
This is a complicated field, the variation in bacteria between people is huge. Research into this arena is in it’s infancy. It will be some time before therapeutic treatments are widely available.
So what can you do in the meantime to get the right bugs growing in your personal garden?
Luckily - it’s quite straight forward. You need to eat the foods that the good bugs thrive on and avoid the foods that feed the bad guys!
Eat fresh, unprocessed foods. Include foods that are high in fiber and eat them raw. No - you don’t need to go on a raw food diet. I’m talking about (low carb) fruit and vegetables. Eat often and a large variety.
Cut out high levels of sugar and white flour - this is what the bad guys like and it will cause you to put on weight and eat more of it.
The bad guys live on a junk food diet and they hijack your chemical messengers to get you to eat more of it. How do you think they survived? If they can’t get their host to eat the food they live on then it lights out for them.
There’s are foods you can add to your diet to help get more good bacteria on board. They are both types of fiber.
Inulin is inexpensive, tasteless and you can add it to any food or drink. It is called inulin and comes from the chicory plant. Inulin has no calories either. It also increases satiety. Now this is something you want to take notice of. This means that there is evidence that inulin keeps you full and reduces hunger. This alone will get rid of the extra inches.
The other fiber is called resistant starch. In my next blog, we will go over this is much more detail and I'll explain how potato starch can lower blood sugars.
It’s time to make friends with your own bacteria and weed out the bad guys!