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8 Ways To Improve Your Gut Health and Lose Weight 

Updated: Jun 9

Gut health and weight loss - The Dearing Clinic

Gut health and weight loss are inextricably linked. This is largely due to the fact that good gut bacteria is known to promote weight loss while bad bacteria leads to weight gain and excess fat accumulation. As a result, learning how to improve your gut health will help you to naturally lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.


Have you ever struggled to lose weight, even when you’re doing all the “right” things? 


You’re following a low-carb diet, exercising at least three to four times a week, and making sure to get a minimum of eight hours of sleep every night. Yet, the scale doesn’t budge. 


If this sounds familiar, you may be overlooking the critical link between your gut health and weight loss. The truth of the matter is that maintaining a healthy gut is not only crucial for proper digestion, but it also plays a significant role in managing your weight and even supporting your overall health and well-being. 


Your gut microbiome (the ecosystem of microbes that exists in your gut) consists of trillions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. And this complex ecosystem interacts with your body in various ways, including impacting your weight and fat storage.


That’s why it’s important to learn how to improve gut health when you’re on a weight loss journey. So, in this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the connection between gut health and weight loss and share specific strategies to improve both your gut health and waistline.


Understanding Gut Health

Whether you’re trying to lose weight or want to optimize your health and well-being, it’s critical to understand how your gut works and to appreciate how it impacts your overall health.


Your gut microbiome, which lies at the core of your gut health, resides primarily in your large intestine. As we reviewed above, your microbiome is composed of many different types of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microbes that play crucial roles in your digestion, your immune function, and even your mental health. 


Ultimately, a healthy gut microbiome is one that contains a diverse and balanced population of all of these microorganisms. This delicate balance is important because it helps to maintain the integrity of your gut lining, supports your body’s ability to efficiently absorb the nutrients you consume, and keeps harmful pathogens in check. 


The Connection Between Your Gut Microbiome and Your Weight

Before we dive into the link between your gut microbiome and your weight, it’s important to note that the composition and balance of bacteria in the gut varies widely from person to person. 

That said, when your personal gut microbiome is balanced and diverse, it contributes significantly to your overall health. But when you have an imbalanced microbiome, also known as gut dysbiosis, it can lead to a number of health issues, including weight gain, obesity, and even metabolic disorders.


Multiple studies have shown that those who have a higher diversity of gut bacteria tend to also have a healthier body weight. Conversely, an overabundance of certain types of harmful bacteria has been linked to weight gain and increased fat storage.


We’ll get into the details on specific bacteria and your gut below, but this gives you some insight into why you must foster a diverse and balanced gut microbiome in order to maintain a healthy weight.


The Connection Between Gut Health and Metabolism

As you can likely surmise at this point, your gut microbiome plays a crucial role in regulating your metabolism. Interestingly, research has shown that certain gut bacteria extract more energy from the food you consume. This results in consuming more calories, which contributes to weight gain and makes it challenging to maintain a healthy weight.


Additionally, imbalances in your gut bacteria can cause inflammation, which is known to decrease insulin sensitivity and increase insulin resistance. And because insulin resistance is strongly associated with weight gain and the development of different metabolic disorders (including type 2 diabetes), this makes your gut health more important than ever.


Finally, it’s important to note that your gut bacteria helps to break down complex carbohydrates, fibers, and proteins that are otherwise indigestible by your body. This process produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which serve as vital energy sources for your body and ultimately help to increase your metabolism. 


SCFAs also participate in enhancing insulin sensitivity and cooling inflammation. This is why it’s so important to maintain a diverse and balanced gut microbiome. By having the right amount of bacteria that are more efficient at extracting energy from food, you’re able to maintain a healthier metabolism and weight.


Your Gut's Influence on Inflammation and Insulin Sensitivity

Your gut microbiome also plays a significant role in regulating inflammation throughout your body. In fact, the very SCFAs created by your gut bacteria also have anti-inflammatory properties as well! So, by reducing inflammation and supporting insulin sensitivity, SCFAs promote healthy weight management in a comprehensive way.


Additionally, an unhealthy gut microbiome can lead to increased intestinal permeability, which is often known as "leaky gut." This syndrome allows toxins and bacteria to pass through your gut’s barrier and enter your bloodstream, which triggers inflammation throughout your entire body. It’s also the very cause of naturally low levels of GLP-1 peptides (the popular peptide known to promote weight loss).


By improving your gut health, you can effectively reduce inflammation and enhance your body's ability to maintain a healthy weight.


But if you stress your nervous system by having higher insulin resistance, damaged cell walls, and aging cells by not having balanced gut bacteria, the entire network of your gut-brain axis and inevitably your metabolic efficiency will suffer. 


The Gut-Brain Axis and Appetite Regulation

So, what is the gut-brain axis and how does it play a role in the connection between gut health and weight loss? The gut-brain axis is a bidirectional network in which your gut and brain are in constant communication, and this axis plays a critical role in regulating your appetite and food intake!


You may be surprised to learn that your gut bacteria produce neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, that are known to influence your mood, cravings, and appetite. Any imbalance in your gut bacteria can lead to an increased desire for unhealthy foods and overeating, which ultimately causes weight gain.


Improving gut health can help restore the balance of neurotransmitters and regulate appetite, making it easier to make healthier food choices and maintain a healthy weight.


Gut Health and Weight Gain

When it comes to gut health and weight gain, it’s important to know that certain characteristics of bad gut bacteria are known to contribute to these issues. And, as we’ve discussed above, one of these characteristics is the ability to extract more energy from the food you eat.


Research has shown that certain types of gut bacteria are more efficient at harvesting energy from food, resulting in increased calorie absorption. And your body then stores this excess energy as body fat, leading to weight gain.


Additionally, an overgrowth of bad gut bacteria can alter the way your body stores and utilizes fat. In fact, some researchers have surmised that certain bacteria promote the storage of fat, particularly around the waistline, and increase the risk of developing obesity and other metabolic disorders.


This means that by addressing any imbalances in bad gut bacteria that you may have, you can optimize your body's ability to use energy and prevent weight gain.


When you’re working on how to improve gut health for weight loss, keep in mind that poor diet and lifestyle choices can have harmful and long-lasting effects on your gut health by promoting an imbalance of bacteria, leading to the overgrowth of bad gut bacteria. And diets rich in processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats are particularly known to disrupt the delicate balance of your gut microbiome.


Specifically, research has shown that people with obesity had more of the bacteria Firmicutes and almost 90 percent less of the bacteria Bacteroidetes than those with lean body composition. 


This is important to note because Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes make up approxmiately 60 percent of your gut's commensal bacteria. And the ratio of this bacteria must remain in balance in order for your microbiome to stay healthy and function at its best. Anytime the ratio is out of balance, you're at risk of health issues, including unwanted weight gain.


Additionally, when your gut produces poor metabolic products (too much harmful bacteria), it stresses your body, causing your brain to lose its neurological connection to your body. As a result, it’s no longer able to regulate how your body stores belly fat, leaving you at risk of increased belly fat! 


It’s also worth noting that experiencing chronic stress, not getting enough rest, and living a sedentary lifestyle have all been linked to imbalances in gut bacteria and increased gut inflammation. 


Fortunately, by making certain dietary changes and adopting healthy lifestyle habits, you can create an environment in your gut that supports the growth of healthy, beneficial bacteria and promotes weight loss.


Gut Health and Weight Loss

Now that you know how gut health and weight gain are connected, let’s take a closer look at the relationship between gut health and weight loss and exactly how improving your gut helps you lose weight. 


Just as certain characteristics of bad gut bacteria can cause weight gain, certain characteristics of good gut bacteria can promote weight loss and even enhance your metabolism. And once again, this takes us back to SCFAs. 


Because SCFAs improve insulin sensitivity and increase energy expenditure, they’re critical for maintaining a healthy weight. Additionally, these beneficial bacteria can help regulate your appetite and reduce cravings for unhealthy foods.


Plus, good gut bacteria also play a role in breaking down dietary fiber and producing essential nutrients that support your overall health. Let’s take a closer look at how this happens.


How Good Gut Bacteria Improve Digestion and Nutrient Utilization

Good gut bacteria play an important role in your body’s ability to digest food and use the nutrients in that food. 


By breaking down complex carbohydrates, fiber, and other indigestible compounds that our bodies cannot process on their own, the bacteria release essential nutrients that can be absorbed by your body. This improves nutrient utilization and ensures that you get the maximum benefit from the food you eat.


Furthermore, good gut bacteria produce enzymes that aid in the digestion of proteins and fats. And by enhancing your digestion and nutrient absorption, these bacteria support optimal gut health and contribute to your ability to maintain a healthy weight. 


The Role of Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Dietary Changes

Let’s also discuss another important element of gut health: prebiotics and probiotics. 


Prebiotics are indigestible fibers that serve as food for good bacteria by stimulating their growth and activity. Including prebiotic-rich foods in your diet, such as kiwi, berries, onions, garlic, and bananas can provide the necessary fuel you need for good gut bacteria to flourish.


On the other hand, probiotics are live bacteria that can be consumed through either fermented foods or supplements. They’re also beneficial bacteria that can help improve the balance of your gut microbiome and improve overall gut health.


8 Ways to Improve Gut Health for Weight Loss

Now that you know all about the link between gut health and weight loss, let’s take a look at some of the best and fastest ways to improve your gut health that will help you shed pounds and keep them off!


1. Eat anti-inflammatory, high-fiber foods. 

Consuming an anti-inflammatory diet filled with high fiber foods is one of the best ways to reset your gut for weight loss.


Here’s why: An anti-inflammatory diet consists of whole, unprocessed foods and minimizes or avoids inflammation-promoting foods such as refined sugars, trans fats, and processed meats.


It’s also nutritionally dense. When you couple this with fibrous foods, you’re eating a diet rich in healthy foods that naturally feed your good gut bacteria and promote weight loss, making it a diet filled with the best foods for gut health and weight loss. 


In fact, research has shown that when people with obesity consumed similar diets, they lost as much as 25 percent of their body weight. Moreover, they experienced a drop in their amount of the bacteria Firmicutes and an increase in their amount of the bacteria Bacteroidetes!


That's because when you eat too little fiber, you end up with more Firmicutes bacteria than Bacteroidetes. But eating an anti-inflamatory diet rich in fiber will help to increase your Bacteroidetes, resulting in a healthier ratio.


Interestingly, the study also confirmed that even with proper dietary measures in place, the ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes doesn't match that of lean individuals. But the positive news here is that you can change the ratio within 24 hours.


The big takeaway here? You can flip your ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes in a bad direction by having one bad meal, but you can also begin to correct it with just one day of eating a health-promoting, fiber-rich diet!


So, where do you begin? Start by incorporating plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats (such as avocado and olive oil), and ancient whole grains into your meals. These foods provide essential nutrients, promote a healthy gut environment, and support weight management.


Additionally, herbs and spices such as turmeric, ginger, and garlic have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to flavor your dishes while also providing health benefits.


When it comes to supporting gut health and weight loss, certain foods offer specific benefits. Here are the best foods for gut health:

  • Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard provide fiber and essential nutrients that nourish your good gut bacteria.

  • Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Whole grains like quinoa, wild rice, and oats provide prebiotic fiber to feed your good gut bacteria and promote regular digestion.

  • Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, and black beans are also excellent sources of prebiotic fiber. In fact, legumes (and specifically beans) are full of prebiotic-rich fiber known to feed the bacteria in your gut and support the ideal ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes!

  • Colorful fruits and vegetables such as berries, apples, broccoli, and carrots provide a variety of nutrients that support gut health and are also rich in fiber.

  • Fermented foods rich in probiotics, which we’ll discuss in more detail below, are also crucial. 


2. Eat more fermented foods. 

As you now know, probiotics and prebiotics play an essential role in weight loss by promoting a healthy gut environment and supporting your overall digestive health.


Fermented foods play an important role in supporting your gut health and weight loss efforts because they are naturally rich in probiotics. As a result, consuming probiotics from fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha can increase the diversity and population of healthy bacteria in your gut. 


Additionally, fermented foods are known to support satiety, which helps to reduce your overall calorie intake. 


3. Avoid processed and high-sugar foods. 

Eating processed and high-sugar foods negatively impacts your gut health and weight, primarily due to how these foods affect your microbiome. These foods often contain low levels of fiber and high amounts of refined carbohydrates, artificial additives, and unhealthy fats, all of which can lead to an unbalanced microbiome that has an overgrowth of bad bacteria (gut dysbiosis). 


Dysbiosis is a major concern because it’s known to impair your gut barrier function, leading to an increased risk of leaky gut. which allows harmful substances to enter your bloodstream and trigger systemic inflammation. 


Moreover, consuming high-sugar foods also causes weight gain and poor metabolic health. Here’s how: Simple sugars are rapidly absorbed in your small intestine, which causes spikes in your blood sugar. Over time, this can lead to insulin resistance, where your body's cells become less responsive to insulin. The result? You begin storing more fat and are at greater risk of developing obesity.


Additionally, eating foods high in sugar can disrupt your appetite-regulating hormones, leading to increased calorie intake and reduced satiety. The combination of dysbiosis, inflammation, and metabolic disturbances such as these creates a vicious cycle that perpetuates weight gain and adversely affects your overall health. 


Therefore, when you're considering how to improve gut health, know that limiting your intake of processed and high-sugar foods is absolutely critical for maintaining a healthy gut and weight.


4. Consume probiotics, prebiotics, and other supplements. 

Certain supplements can be helpful in supporting gut health and weight loss efforts. Here are some of the best supplements for gut health and weight loss due to their ability to support a healthy gut microbiome:

  • Probiotics. These supplements introduce beneficial bacteria to support a healthy gut microbiome. Research has also shown that certain probiotic use can significantly support weight loss.

  • Prebiotics. These non-digestible fibers nourish good gut bacteria and promote their growth.

  • Glutamine. This amino acid helps to repair the lining of your gut and reduce inflammation.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids. These anti-inflammatory fats can support your gut health and overall well-being.


Remember, for optimal gut health and weight loss, supplements should complement an anti-inflammatory diet and a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to source high-quality supplements such as this Total Gut Restoration Kit, which contains the best probiotic for gut health and weight loss.


Why is it thebest? It's primarly because it's been shown to restore Bacteroidetes and improve your overall ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes and promote weight loss.


5. Engage in regular physical activity.

Regular exercise is not only important for your overall health, but it can also positively impact your gut health and weight management.


In fact, exercise has been shown to increase the diversity of gut bacteria and enhance the amount of good bacteria, leading to a healthier gut microbiome. It can also help cool inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity.


To maximize the benefits of exercise for gut health and weight loss, aim for a combination of cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility exercises. Varying your workouts can keep your body and gut microbiome challenged and engaged. Just remember strength training is a critical part of weight loss, as it supports building and maintaining the lean muscle you need to keep your metabolism going strong.


6. Focus on stress management.

Chronic stress impacts your body in numerous ways, including your gut health and weight. When you’re under stress, your body releases the stress hormone (cortisol), can disrupt the balance of your gut microbiome and lead to inflammation.


Additionally, stress can cause emotional eating (using food as a coping mechanism), which can be a significant barrier to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. 


As a result, managing stress is incredibly important for maintaining a healthy gut and promoting weight loss. Because stress relief is highly personal, it’s best to find stress-reduction techniques that work for you. Some effective options include meditation, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in hobbies and activities that you enjoy.


Additionally, when you’re less stressed, this improves your gut health, which can help break the cycle of emotional eating by supporting the production of neurotransmitters that regulate your mood and your cravings.


7. Get quality sleep.

Getting enough sleep and, specifically, enough quality sleep is essential for your overall health, but it also plays an important role in gut health and weight management.


Research has shown that disrupted sleep can negatively impact your gut microbiome, leading to imbalances in the bacteria and even increased inflammation.


Additionally, a lack of sleep has been associated with hormonal changes that can increase your appetite for high-calorie and nutritionally-lacking foods.


To support your gut health and weight loss efforts, aim for eight hours of quality sleep each night. And if you find that you have trouble falling asleep, work toward establishing a relaxing bedtime routine and create a sleep-friendly environment to improve your sleep duration and quality.


8. Get your brain and body in sync.

Finally, we have to acknowledge the complex and bidirectional connection between your brain and your gut. Why? That’s because your brain influences your gut health, and your gut health influences your brain health.


When you experience stress, for example, your brain sends signals to your gut that can disrupt its ability to perform its normal functions and instead increase inflammation. Likewise, imbalances in your gut microbiome can produce substances that can affect your brain function, mood, and even your eating habits!


Getting your brain and body in sync is crucial for achieving a healthy gut and weight loss. In fact, it’s the very reason we call your brain your body’s secret metabolism-boosting weapon


Not sure where to start in the process of resyncing your brain and body? Check out Dr. Dearing’s Rhythm Reset Protocol to learn how to use his simple daily movements, practices, and routines to reset your brain and body in just nine days!


Key Takeaways on Gut Health and Weight Loss

  • Improving your gut health is a key aspect of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. 

  • Your gut microbiome plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy metabolism, fighting inflammation, and regulating your appetite, all of which can impact weight gain or weight loss.

  • By understanding the connection between gut health and weight loss, you can take steps to improve your gut microbiome. Embrace an anti-inflammatory diet rich in fiber, prebiotic, and probiotic-rich foods, while also incorporating healthy lifestyle habits such as stress management, exercise, and sufficient sleep.

  • Most importantly, remember to prioritize resyncing your brain and body to ensure optimal results.

  • Finally, remember that sustainable weight loss is a journey that requires a holistic approach. Learning how to improve gut health naturally is not only beneficial for weight management but also for your overall health and well-being.


Ready to prioiritize your gut health and lose weight? Learn more about our popular CORE Weight Loss Program.

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