Do the bugs in your gut make you crave fattening food?
For 3000 years it has been known in Traditional Chinese Medicine [TCM] that energy directs the activity of the organs in our body, and that these activities are subject to rhythmical vibrations. It has long been the belief in TCM that dis-ease is the result of stagnant energy. Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to clear blockages in energy pathways and allow the free flow of ‘chi’ – energy -, around the body. In recent years, the existence of meridians and blockages in the meridians has been proven by means of nuclear medicine and other methods. Much research has also gone into exploring Biorhythms.
Whether it is openly voiced or not, the assumption of many people is that overweight people are lazy and have no willpower. However, recent research claims that whether we are fat or thin has nothing to do with willpower: it is totally dependent on the strains of bacteria that inhabit our gut!
In spite of what many of us have been taught, our gut is not just a ‘poop factory’. Our gut has its own brain, our gut bacteria digest certain foods, and certain essential vitamins, our gut bacteria play a major role in our immune function, and also in controlling our cholesterol and blood sugar levels. In addition, 90% of the feel-good hormone serotonin is produced in the gut by certain strains of bacteria.
And while it might sound far-fetched, the bacteria that live in our gut appear to affect our food choices by inducing cravings for the type of food that serves their particular agenda, and as not all bacteria are health-promoting, it’s not surprising the types of food they make us crave are unhealthy. Medical text books claim that 80% of the bacteria in our gut is ‘healthy’, while 20% is ‘pathogenic’ and that so long as the ratio remains at 80: 20, the bacteria in our gut happily co-exist. Unfortunately, most people do not have a ‘text-book perfect’ gut microbiome.
It would seem that most doctors in the UK must have skipped the class on how our food choices can improve the balance of bacteria in our gut; either that, or that information has never been shared with medical students.
Attitudes about our influence over the bacteria in our gut are widely different throughout Europe, especially in many eastern European countries, where pre and probiotics are a big part of healthcare. Even in France and Germany, it is common practice for people to be prescribed a course of probiotics after a course of antibiotics: not so in the UK. In spite of the wealth of literature demonstrating how we can influence the balance of bacteria in our gut, most doctors in the UK insist that the good bacteria ‘bounce-back’ after a couple of weeks without any need for special foods or supplements.
While it used to amaze me how uninformed most doctors appear about how much our food choices impact the population of our gut microbiome, it seems that our gut microbiome has the last laugh: it controls our food choices!
The need for us to influence the balance of bacteria in our gut has never been more important now the evidence highlights that the pathogenic bacteria in our gut are forcing us to eat the foods that make them thrive!
However, knowledge is power. Once we know that the bacteria in our gut are bullying into eating foods that makes them stronger, we have the ultimate power: CHOICE! Once we know the ‘bad bacteria’ are controlling our food cravings, we can take back control by ensuring we supply the good bacteria with the food that makes them thrive, while depriving the bad bacteria of the food that makes them thrive.
Emotional stress also has a powerful impact on the balance of bacteria in your gut: the so-called positive emotions favour the good bacteria, while ‘negative emotions’ favour the bad bacteria.
Improving the gut microbiome is a major part of the WDs+ approach.