Carol (Missy) Cohen MPH, CHHC

Why Are You Fat?

Are Food Intolerances Making You Fat?

When you were a kid you could eat anything and not gain an ounce. Now that you are an adult, the weight does not come off quite as easily. You eat the same. You are the same person on the outside but your insides are not the same. Why is that?

Let’s Talk Bugs…

Before we get in to that, let’s talk about bugs. The over 500 different types of bugs, also known as bacteria, that live in your digestive system. Before you start thinking that you need to do something to get rid of the over 3 pounds of bacteria, realize that they are supposed to be there. They help with digestion; they aid in breaking down your food; they create vitamins that you need to function optimally and, maybe most importantly, they are part of your intestinal immune system that keeps the bad stuff out of your body and breaks down the stuff that you need into teeny, tiny molecules that are used in various chemical reactions throughout your body. These different bacteria are in a combination that is unique to each individual. New research shows that the appendix, once thought to be a useless little appendage, actually stores the information for the right ratio of bacteria in our guts.

The foods we choose, the fluids we drink, and the medicines that we take – prescribed and over-the-counter, all work together to change the bacteria that live inside our intestines. If we consume the Standard American Diet, that is a diet that is high in fat, sugar and processed foods, we create an acid environment inside of us. This will kill beneficial bacteria that prefer an alkaline environment and allow other bacteria to grow beyond the numbers that work for us. In addition, without the bacteria that are holding the yeast and parasites in check, the yeast and parasites will multiply and cause problems as well.

It All Comes Down to a Healthy Gut!

The lining of our intestines is one cell layer deep. Think about that! There is one layer of cells protecting your insides from your outside environment. When the bacteria and other creatures that live inside us get out of control, they release chemicals that destroy that cell lining. Now the bacteria that helps us break down our food is reduced AND we have holes, literally, in our intestinal lining. This is what has become known as leaky gut. What this does is offers the perfect storm for larger food molecules to cross into our bloodstream. Our immune system sees these larger particles, does not recognize them and does what it should do. It declares “stranger danger!” and attacks them. When our immune system is activated it causes all sorts of problems for us that are demonstrated in many ways. We may experience fatigue – our bodies are working hard fighting off these supposed invaders. That’s exhausting! We may also experience gi symptoms of gas, bloating, and GERD. There may be headaches. The molecules that are formed when the inflammatory process is activated might get into our joints and cause aches and pains. They may get into our brains and cause our memories to suffer or give us “foggy brain.”

If we pay attention, we may notice that certain foods cause certain symptoms. For example, dairy products frequently cause an increase in mucous production and constipation. Sugar may give you a boost but that boost is short-lived and sugar actually causes lethargy and fatigue. Perhaps you may notice that tomatoes or eggplants cause bloating. These are all signs that your immune system is fighting that particular food.

So, how does this make you fat?

When our immune system is activated and our body is fighting what it believes to be an invader, our bodies become inflamed. One of the many results of inflammation is an increase in the hormone insulin. Insulin’s job is to store fuel. Fat cells are the storage cells in our bodies. So because of an increase in insulin, there is an increase in the size of our fat cells which results in… us becoming fat.

The Good News

Leaky gut is reversible! By avoiding the foods that are causing you problems such as gas, bloating, headaches, achy joints, depression, mood swings, problems sleeping, etc. etc. etc., rebuilding your good bacteria, and improving your digestion, you CAN reverse leaky gut. It does take diligence, time and patience but it can be done!

 

Resources:

http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/04/20/are-your-food-allergies-making-you-fat/

 

 

 

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