Believe it or not, adding fiber to your diet can help you lose that loitering belly fat. How does that happen? Short-chain fatty acids is the short answer. Are you asking ‘where do you buy those?’ At your local farmers market…sorta.
We know from another blog we wrote not too long ago
that exercise, a healthy diet, getting good sleep and managing your stress are important factors in keeping that belly fat under control. Now, we’re going to do a deep dive into how fiber in your diet can help lose that belly fat that’s loitering around your middle.
Influencers of metabolism
Research is showing that our gut seems to rule the roost, more than we ever thought and there’s still more to learn. It’s connected to many systems of the body, plays a big role with the immune system and has a distinct metabolic and immune activity of its own.
You may be surprised to know that the microbiome (the ecosystem of the gut) is now considered to be a supporting organ of the body because of its huge role in our daily functions. In fact, the balance or imbalance of the types of bacteria in your gut can determine your level of health and your metabolism.
Our gut biomes are determined at birth but get altered through the lifestyle choices we make and the physical environments we live in. Only 20% of our genetic makeup influences our gut biome, but our lifestyle choices have the upper hand at 80%. That means we can change things.
This overwhelming influence affects your health and your risk of disease. With 7 out of the top 10 diseases being lifestyle related, balancing all those microbes is critical.
While things can go sideways, the microbiota of a healthy person can be a protective mechanism against pathogens. But when the diversity of the bacteria is out of balance, pathogenic bacteria (disease causing) take over. This imbalance creates a low-grade inflammation.
It’s a long way around to say that a low-grade inflammation from the loss of your gut diversity has a big influence with weight gain, your metabolism and affects your endocrine system. Those trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi that reside in the gut have a heavy hand in how you process our food.
This brings us to our subject matter of how adding fiber to your diet can help you lose that loitering belly fat.
Inflammation, hormones and belly fat
If you don’t get enough fiber, which is food to the microbes in your gut, you starve the good bacteria and the bad bacteria takes over. The bad bacteria creates endotoxins which cause chinks in the wall that divides your colon from your bloodstream.
Endotoxins escape through these chinks and cause inflammation in your body. This is referred to as increased intestinal permeability or leaky gut.
With inflammation getting in the way, hormonal signals don’t reach the brain. Leptin, the gut hormone that signals to your brain you’ve had enough to eat decreases. Some say this is a main driver of weight gain.
Fiber decreases inflammation
Fiber will restore the health and the diversity of your gut. And yes, the source of the fiber you eat is important. But first, let’s take a quick look at how this all works.
If you eat a diverse mix of fiber in the recommended amount of 25 – 30 grams a day, your microbes and their digestive enzymes will be feverishly fermenting all that soluble fiber. And, in breaking down that fiber, your microbes release small-chain fatty acids (SCFAs).
The more soluble fiber you eat, the more your microbes increase and the more short-chain fatty acids they produce. (A big cheer rises from the stands.)
There are three types of SCFAs. Among the three, butyrate heals the lining of the colon and decreases the endotoxin release.
Each type of fiber we eat has a different combination of these three SCFAs.
The SCFAs heal the colon by making it a more acidic environment which prevents the growth of the inflammatory, pathogenic bacteria – the bad guys. The SCFAs then gets out the big guns and stomps and suppresses the really bad guys, like E.Coli and Salmonella.