By David Zinczenko
HARNESS YOUR GUT FEELINGS TO LOSE WEIGHT
We might call it intuition or a sixth sense, and we might dismiss those “gut” feelings as completely illegitimate. After all, just because you have a feeling in your belly doesn’t mean there’s logic involved. But what we interpret as gut feelings is actually the work of the enteric nervous system, a series of nerves and synapses that’s just as complicated as the system in your brain. In fact, most of your serotonin, the “feel good” brain hormone that modern antidepressants work on, is located in the gut, not in the head. “Gut feelings” come when our five senses tell us one thing, but they don’t quite compute; that leaves us with the vague notion that something’s wrong.
What does this have to do with weight loss? Because a healthy body, and a healthy mind, start with a healthy gut. And a healthy gut comes from eating foods that work with your digestive system in a way that helps reduce inflammation and improve your belly biome.
In fact, you have a whole ecosystem that’s operating inside you. There are about a hundred times as many bugs—single-cell bacteria—in your digestive tract as there are human cells in your entire body. On a per capita basis, you’re about 99 percent microbe. And what’s happening in your gut determines what happens in pretty much every other area of your body, and your life. Before you can reset your metabolism and turn off your fat genes, you need to balance your belly. That’s why I designed Zero Belly Smoothies to work with your digestive system, restoring your belly to proper balance and bringing you long-term weight loss in the most effective, and delicious, way possible.
SMOOTHIES TO THE RESCUE!
The human GI tract contains more than five hundred species of bacteria—trillions of microbes that help to break down food, while also playing a role in knocking off any invading bugs that might be taking a ride on your radicchio.
So it’s important to help the good bacteria along, because also lurking in your belly are bad bacteria that release toxins, which inflame the GI tract. As long as these bacteria are kept in check, that’s not a problem. But when they begin to overwhelm the healthy bacteria, those toxins begin to cause inflammation in your digestive tract—a condition known as “leaky gut.” Essentially, think of your intestinal tract as a fine screen, with little tiny holes through which nutrients can move into the bloodstream from your food. When bacteria get out of whack, they begin to irritate the lining of the intestines, and those holes become larger. Bacteria, food particles, and other nasty things escape your GI tract and get into your bloodstream.
A leaky gut leads to inflammation, as pathogens begin to attack the body and the body fights back. That can trigger your fat-storage genes, leading you to gain more weight than someone eating the same amount of food, and spending the same amount of time in the gym. In fact, it’s the fatty acid butyrate, produced by healthy bacteria feasting on fiber, that helps to dampen the behavior of genes linked directly to insulin resistance and inflammation. Less fiber means less healthy bacteria, which means less butyrate and, eventually, inflammation and diabetes.
That’s why these smoothies are designed to restore your gut health. In one study, adults with “large visceral fat areas” who drank 7 ounces of bacteria-supporting liquids lost up to 9 percent visceral fat and 3 percent belly fat, while the control group lost nothing.
CUT SUGAR, BOOST FIBER, DROP POUNDS
Bad bacteria in your gut feed off sugar, just like the bacteria in your mouth. That’s why Zero Belly Smoothies are low in sugar and high in fiber: They starve the bad bugs and feed the good ones. In one Canadian study, subjects who were supplemented with a natural insoluble fiber not only lost weight but reported less hunger than those who received a placebo. Researchers discovered that the subjects who received the fiber had higher levels of ghrelin—a hormone that controls hunger—and lower levels of blood sugar. The reason insoluble fiber works so well in balancing the gut is that it’s not digested; it remains in your GI tract all the way to the end, reaching the good bacteria in the lower intestines and helping them to fight off the bad guys.
My Zero Belly Smoothies are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation, and gluten-free. Recent studies have found that gluten can negatively impact gut bacteria, even in people who are not gluten sensitive. Try any of them--or all of them--in the coming days, and see if your “gut feelings” don’t lead to another feeling: the feeling that you need to buy smaller pants.
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