Ensuring a healthy digestive system and immune system to boost weight loss and gain better health’ by Janet Thomson

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Anyone who trained more than 5 years ago in fitness and nutrition was probably taught that when it comes to weight loss, nothing is more important than Calories in Vs Calories out (CICO) and if people failed they were just in denial as to how much they were eating. We now know it’s not so much how much we eat, but what we eat and even when we eat that determines our weight, and more importantly, our health.  

In recent years the research into microflora and how to improve it has shed new light on why so many people have failed to lose weight in the past. We know that to be a healthy weight you need a healthy body, and to achieve that you need a healthy digestive system, and specifically a healthy gut. Eating for energy is one thing, but our nutritional habits have a profound formative effect on our health.

One of the key studies was when scientists took genetically identical twins where one had become obese and one was slim. They analysed their faeces and found the slim twin had a vastly increased variety of species or microbes than the obese twin. Then came the really convincing bit, they bred sterile mice and exposed half of them to the “fat faeces” and the other half to the “thin faeces”. The ones exposed to the slim faeces all maintained a healthy slim weight (for a mouse!) and the other group – got fat. That has a huge impact on how we view our internal ecosystems, but what was really encouraging was that when both groups were put together so they were all exposed to the same “thin faeces”, the fat mice lost weight and got thin. 

This opened the barn doors for an array of research which has proven beyond any doubt that our microflora (most of which is stored in our gut) determines not just our body weight, but our health. Other studies include fecal transplants given to patients with a variety of conditions such as C. Diff that hadn’t responded to antibiotics, with remarkable results. 

As fitness professionals, nutrition has always been part of the integral basic training, but when science is moving so fast it’s as important to keep up with new nutrition research as it is to keep up with the latest fitness trends. Only then can we provide truly holistic and effective programmes for our clients. This was both the motivation for and provided the research for all Placebo Diet programmes. 

In summary, we have more microbes in our body than we do human cells, and our gut health influences every metabolic process from growth and repair to running our immune system. In short, if you are serious about helping your clients look after their body and lose weight, you must make helping them boost their gut flora a priority.

There are many trillions of microbes in the gut, weighing roughly the same as your brain; but what’s more important than the amount you carry, is the variety of species. In practical terms this means they do different things, so the more variety we have the more varied a role they can play in our health, giving us a much wider breadth of protection.

Hippocrates said “All disease begins in the gut” which must mean that “all healing begins in the gut”. Taking steps to promote gut health is not just the most beneficial thing you can do to promote weight loss, but the most beneficial thing you can do to promote and enhance health generally.

To find out how to become a Placebo Diet Coach please visit www.theplacebodiet.co.uk 


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