Beneficial bacteria and a diverse and healthy diet are two of the main contributors for promoting weight loss and sustaining a healthy weight. Both human and animal studies have found that people with a normal or healthy weight have significantly different gut bacteria species and diversity than overweight or obese people. Obese people have a less diverse gut flora, which adds to the argument that a more diverse diet leads to a more diverse gut flora.
There are two main families of good bacteria in the gut: bacteroidetes and firmicutes. Research has shown that body weight seems to be related to a balance in the ratio of these bacterial families. In these studies, people suffering from obesity had more firmicutes and fewer bacteroidetes, compared to people of a normal weight. Dr. Pacholec offers a Gut Health Consultation at both her St. Petersburg, FL and Lutz, FL locations in which she performs specialized testing to assess this ratio of these bacteria. The results of this analysis will help her customize a medical weight loss plan to help get the ratio back into normal parameters. This will help her patient not only lose weight, but sustain a healthy weight down the road.
Lactobacillus is another important bacterial genus which has been shown to inhibit the absorption of dietary fat and increases the amount of fat excreted with feces. Consumption of Lactobacillus in a pharmaceutical grade supplement has also been associated with a decrease in belly fat. The species of Lactobacillus that seems to have the greatest effect on weight loss is Lactobacillus gasseri, which has been shown to prevent obesity in studies with laboratory rodents. In a Japanese study of 210 overweight people suffering from belly fat, the researchers provided a probiotic for 12 weeks. Participants who took the supplement for the full 12 week period had reduced body weight, reduced fat around their organs, a reduced Body Mass Index (BMI) and decreased waist and hip circumference. Participants who stopped taking the probiotic gained back all of their belly fat within a month. The specialized testing that Dr. Pacholec uses at both her St Petersburg, FL and Lutz, FL locations also analyzes the presence of Lactobacillus in a patient's gut, which helps her create a customized medical weight loss plan, specific for that patient.
Probiotics may also regulate proteins and hormones associated with fat storage and energy reserves.
The Western Diet
The Westernized lifestyle, including diet is associated with high incidences of chronic diseases, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes. The Westernized diet is characterized by the over consumption of highly refined, omnivorous diets of poor nutritional quality. They are energy dense, high in animal protein, total and saturated fats and simple sugars, but low in fruits, vegetables and other plant-based foods. This type of diet leads to poor diversity in the composition of the gut bacteria. The gut bacterial population is responsive to acute dietary changes, so altering a diet low in nutritional quality to a more diverse plant-based diet can help revitalize the gut bacteria and lead to better health in the short-term.
Probiotic Rich Foods
In addition to a high quality, pharmaceutical grade probiotic supplement, Dr. Pacholec recommends her patients to eat probiotic rich foods to aid in medical weight loss and increase the health of their gut microbiome. Fermented and pickled foods are rich in probiotics and digestive enzymes, so they promote better absorption of nutrients and help balance the gut microbiome. A list of Dr. Pacholec's favorite probiotic rich foods is below:
Schedule a Gut Health Consultation with Dr. Pacholec at either her St Petersburg, FL or Lutz, FL locations for your next appointment to discuss other ways in which you can increase the health of your GI system. A healthy, balanced diet has many more benefits than just losing weight!
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Barbara Pacholec, MD
Dr Pacholec is Board Certified in Bariatric Medicine and Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. She has run a successful practice specializing in medical weight loss, hormone replacement therapy and anti-aging/regenerative and functional medicine for the past 20 years in Lutz, FL in Tampa Bay. In January 2018, she opened a satellite practice in St Petersburg, FL which also specializes in medical weight loss, hormone replacement therapy, and anti-aging/regenerative and functional medicine.