Imagine. Fatso is not you any more.
The real you is back, and looking good. Rescued by gut feel.
It CAN be done
OK, so the workouts and careful eating help.
But the real success is down to your gut – more accurately to the teeming colonies of 100 trillion essential bacteria that live there – the ones that handle digestion, control your immune system, and yes, manage your weight.
Keep these guys in balance and your body works just fine, your weight stays normal, you’re in good health and full of natural energy.
Upset them and you pay the price. As most of us do from the constant inclusion of antibiotics in our diet. Yes, the same stuff the Doc prescribes when you’re not well – but swallowed unconsciously with every meal because farmers use antibiotics big time to boost plant and animal growth.
Which means with every mouthful you’re chowing down traces of the same stuff used to make beef cattle grow faster, fruit to grow bigger and sweeter, grain crops to yield twice as much for every harvest – with more body and taste.
Getting fat might be good for producing food on the farm – but it’s sure destructive to human beings. You look like a podge – and all that extra weight triggers a slew of health problems. Diabetes, cancer and heart disease are just some of the ailments facing you if you can’t get the weight off.
You see, what antibiotics do is kill bacteria. Good if you’re fighting a life-threatening bug that’s making you ill. But disastrous to the trillions and trillions of other bacteria living in your gut and doing useful work. Without their diversity and continued well-being, things go wrong quickly – especially if they’re damaged or missing completely.
The leptin balance
Like over-production of leptin, the hormone that signals satiety to your body – telling the brain you’ve had enough to eat, it’s time to stop.
Yes, you read that right, over-production. Because when that happens, the brain becomes resistant to the signals – the same as receiving no signals at all – leptin resistance. Your body keeps saying it’s hungry, so you go on eating and eating and… you know how it goes.
Thankfully, you can do something about it. Leptin is closely tied to insulin production, which in turn is regulated by sugar intake. Get your sugar levels down, and you can start taking back control. Fatso no more.
Why you are what you eat
Uh huh, it becomes a diet thing – you have to cut down on fructose and processed foods. Supported by the right kind of exercise to help things along – nothing excessive and going easy on the cardio, good high intensity stuff like weight lifting, but avoiding stress.
Hard work and boring, right?
But thankfully, researchers are beginning to recognise gut bacteria is way more significant to our health than anyone realised. Every day now, new treatments are emerging that work directly on these vital microorganisms inside our bodies – easier and more effective than punishing diets and exercise.
Hope for the heavy
For instance, tucked away in today’s papers is a report on using small doses of a particular type of bacteria – escherichia coli – to blunt the desire for sweet tastes, emulating the normal switch-off effect of leptin.
E.coli is not a bug to play around with, in other forms it triggers highly dangerous symptoms of food poisoning. But using bacteria to control bacteria makes a lot more sense than using killers like antibiotics.
Other researchers are playing around with a body enzyme called histone deacetylase 5 (HDAC5), an alternative sidestep to counter leptin resistance. By activating HDAC5, scientists found they could restore leptin sensitivity and actually reverse obesity under lab conditions.
Yet another option we’re likely to see soon is the poo transplant – transferring bacteria from the faeces of a “thin” healthy person to a “fat” unhealthy one. So far this method is mostly used for controlling infections difficult to get rid of such as clostridium difficile. By redressing the bacteria balance – and reintroducing bacteria killed in continual antibiotic attacks, again obesity can be reversed.
All of which is life-saving stuff for the two thirds of us who are already overweight or obese.
But developing these treatments properly for humans will take a while yet, so stick to the diet and exercise.
Fatso? Not you.
Picture Copyright: tobkatrina / 123RF Stock Photo