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How does gut flora affect weight?

Losing or maintaining weight is about more than just calories going in and out. One of the influencing factors is our gut flora, which has been shown to influence how easy or difficult it is for a person to go up or down in weight. 

What is gut flora? 

The gut flora consists of billions of bacteria that live in our guts. The gut flora is important for several physical functions, such as the immune system, digestion, and regulation of blood sugar, for example. Plus, the production of several hormones and neurotransmitters takes place in the gut – among others, the hormones that control feelings of hunger and fullness. 

Weight and gut flora 

Studies so far have shown that there could be a connection between our weight and our gut flora. Studies have shown that, among other things, the gut flora of a personal of normal weight has a wider variety of different species of bacteria, as well as a greater proportion of good bacteria, compared to the gut flora of an overweight person. In other words, the overweight person often has more bad bacteria, which can upset the balance of the gut flora. For the gut flora to be in balance and functioning optimally, it should consist of different strains and species of bacteria, and good gut bacteria should also constitute the majority. 

How to promote a balanced gut bacteria 

1. Eat fibre-rich and nutrient-dense foods: When we feed ourselves, we’re feeding our gut bacteria at the same time, so for a healthy gut flora, it’s important that we eat the right things. Make sure your diet consists of vegetables, fruits, pulses, and gluten-free cereals. These foods are rich in nutrition and, importantly, plant fibres, which are the good bacteria’s favourite food.

2. The 80-10-10 rule: A good guideline for your diet is that 80 percent should be made up of vegetables and fruits. 10 percent of proteins, and 10 percent of fats. Prioritise raw vegetables as well as fruits with a low sugar content such as berries and citrus fruits. Try to get your proteins from beans, lentils, and quinoa, and healthy fats from avocados, nuts, and seeds.

3. Learn to manage stress: When you experience stress, different hormones and substances are released, which can upset the balance between the good and bad gut bacteria. Therefore, for the gut flora to remain in good condition, it’s important to find methods and procedures that help you to manage stress, think positive, and relax. 

4. Find the joy in exercise: Studies have shown that regular exercise can increase the number of good bacteria in your gut. To find an exercise routine that you can actually stick to in the long run, we recommend finding a type of exercise that you like and enjoy. Any amount of exercise is better than none, but a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day will do you a lot of good. 

5. Get plenty of lactic bacteria: Sometimes your gut flora needs a bit of extra help along the way. Fermented food and drinks (e.g. sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha), or supplements such as Synbiotic15 can give an extra boost of good bacteria and fibre. 



Le Chatelier, E. et al. Richness of human gut microbiome correlates with metabolic markers. Nature 500, 541-546 (2013)
Ley, R.E. Obesity and the human microbiome. Current Opinion in Gastroenterology, Vol 26, Issue 1, 5-11 (2010)
Ottosson, F. et al. Connection between BMI-Related Plasma Metabolite Profile and Gut Microbiota. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Vol 103, Issue 4, 1491-1501 (2018)

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