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Can a healthy gut equal weight loss? | Health Smart

The bacteria in your gut plays several important roles in your health.

YORK, Pa. — If you have a gut feeling that something is preventing you from losing weight, you could be right. 

Our gut health can influence our ability to shed those unwanted pounds. In fact, the bacteria in your gut plays several important roles in your health.

GIANT Nutritionist Kilene Knitter says a healthy gut improves digestion, immune function, and absorption of nutrients. It also can improve skin complexion, give you more energy, and even put you in a better mood.  

"I like to think of gut health more so as a cycle, rather than individual pieces," she said. "We know that 80 to 90% of our serotonin, which is the happy hormone, is produced in the gut." 

Tips to improve your gut health

Knitter says start with foods high in fiber, like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds and aim for 25 to 38 grams of it a day. 

"Fiber is known for keeping us full and it's gonna help balance out your blood sugar," she said.  

She also suggests adding in fermented foods to your diet and avoid eating sugary drinks, artificial sweeteners, and foods containing unhealthy fats. Drinking lots of water also helps. 

"When you're already thirsty, you're already on the road to dehydration so we want to make sure we are staying hydrated, especially if you're adding more fiber to your diet, you need more fluids," Knitter said. 

Food, however, is just one part of a much bigger cycle. You also need sleep, which helps to reduce stress and give you energy.

"When we feel more energized, we are then able to do things like move more, and you're not as sedentary throughout the day," Knitter said. "When we are moving more, that is gonna help in digestion. So when you're eating in a balanced way with that fiber, you'll be fuller, you're going to be more balanced with your blood sugar which then play into feeling happier, more well-balanced throughout the day, which can then lead to better weight management and ultimately weight loss." 

If you're interested in learning more about how gut health can impact weight loss, GIANT offers free virtual nutrition classes and has a gut health class coming up in January. Click here to sign up

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