Looking at hormonal profiles of obese people vs lean people, the larger of the two almost always have:
– Insulin Resistance
– Cortisol Issues
– Estrogen Issues
The question should be asked, are these the cause or consequence of obesity? Potentially a bit of both that exponentially snowballs as health declines but I am going to say consequence as they’re rarely the initial problem. Once you get overweight people lean and re-do blood work, these things have often returned to normal.
If you’re now suspecting sluggish thyroid, in the cloak room, with the revolver, I can see how you got there, but the research shoes that obese people generally don’t have slow thyroid.
Something overlooked and needing consideration is gut flora, microbiome, and dysbiosis. Dysbiosis can be thought of as having either the wrong type, or wrong amount of gut bugs.
There is 100 x more DNA in your gut than there is in the rest of your body. We have approximately 10 x as many bacteria in our body than we do human cells.
Have you ever wondered why there are some people that can get away with eating whatever they like, yet you look at an ice cream and get fat? Why do people get varied results from medications, supplements, and other products? Your gut and the different chemical biology it creates from certain gut bug interactions is somewhat responsible for this.
Gut bugs are designed to survive, even when lying dormant. You can make a significant change to your body in one month with good diet and exercise. It takes 5 times as long for your gut flora to change in response to your changed diet.
When you’re gaining weight through accidental lifestyle slips or deliberate choice trying to build large amounts of muscle, you’re also creating a bulky gut flora. When the times comes that you’re ready to start dieting to lean up, the problem you will be faced with is maintaining these results. The gut bug numbers reduce, but you still have the same bugs. This is often one of the causes for rebound weight gain.
Stay with me…
When you’re dysbiotic or overweight, you can still lose weight. As mentioned, once you’ve dieted down, you have less total bugs, but the ratio between good bugs and bad bugs has not changed. Through periods of dieting and calorie restriction, these bad bugs sit dormant and shoot out spores and eggs. When the diet is broken (which will happen) and calories come back in, the bad gut bugs, spores, and eggs thrive, worsening the ratio of bugs in your gut that allowed you to become overweight in the first place. You now possess a fat microbiome profile and weight gain occurs rapidly. This is what your gut bugs think you want, much like a bear coming out of hibernation.
Tongue twister time.
We all have a specific methyl producing bug called methanobrevibacter smithii. When you starve yourself, or are on a low-calorie diet, this bug grows in your guts. In this nutrient deprived environment, it ferments polysaccharides and extracts more calories from foods that would normally be low in calories.
Polysaccharide: a complex sugar molecule or carbohydrate (e.g. starch, cellulose, or glycogen) whose molecules consist of a number of sugar molecules boned together.
To summarize, prolonged periods of low calorie dieting, creates a change in your gut microbiome. The body perceives the starvation as a threat to its organism and the growth of specific bug populations pull calories from food partials not usually absorbed, to keep you alive. You aren’t what you eat, you are what you absorb. Gut bugs have control in our energy expenditure.
Clean eating doesn’t have to be boring, nor should it be. Boiled chicken and broccoli is far from satisfying or sustainable for long term health and body composition. Your food should be rich with polyphenols not just for the amazing flavours but the bacteria benefits that come with them.
Most people have heard of pro-biotic. But what about:
Polyphenols are mod-biotics. Polyphenols control the ratios of gut bugs. Some kill certain bad bugs, and some increase good bugs. The good bugs, feed on polyphenols and make post-biotic flavonoid compounds such as Naringenin and Apigenin.
Naringenin significantly increases energy expenditure by upregulating uncoupling proteins, modifying the kreb cycle, stimulating thyroid hormone conversion pathways, and avoiding reverse T3.
(grapefruit, pomegranate, rosemary)
Uncoupling protein is a very powerful thermogenic compound that drives fat into the mitochondria.
Apigenin is a very powerful energy expenditure flavonoid. Studies show if you cut calories, carbs and reduce polyphenols that might have been found in your diet from certain fruits, you’ll lose these post-biotic compounds that control your energy expenditure. Keeping your diet rich with polyphenols and flavonoids while in calories restriction, allows you to maintain energy expenditure and stop the over growth of bad bugs and can actually prevent rebound weight gain by killing off the obese profile in the microbiome. If this is not managed, gut bugs will crave and ferment food. Expect bloating, gas, and impossible task of staying accountable to your ‘clean’ diet.
Long story short, include polyphenols in your daily diet to prevent rebound weight gain, metabolic damage, and hormone related issues.
Herbs and Spices
Star Anise (aniseed)
Curry Powder (includes coriander, cumin, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, and black pepper)
Nuts and Seeds
Black Grape (resveratrol)
Red and Yellow Onion