It’s no secret that sugar is bad for you, but too many people tend to hide behind the veil of “but we just don’t know if sugar is to blame for this or that.” Well, now we know.
A new study published in the eminent journal Cell reveals the link between sugar consumption, our gut microbiome, and metabolic issues that lead to an increased risk of obesity. Here’s what you should know and how you can use this knowledge to your benefit.
Your good bacteria and immune cells
To understand what happens with your gut microbiome when you consume sugar, here are the two key moments revealed in this study:
- Too much sugar in your gut causes the amount of your good bacteria, in this case, segmented filamentous bacteria specifically, to fall drastically.
- The lack of these bacteria and the consequent increase of other bacterial strains in your gut, leads to the sharp decrease of Th17 cells in the gut – the immune cells responsible for protecting you from issues such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and the like.
The impact on your metabolism
Over the long term, as sugar wipes out your protective cells and the good bacteria from your gut, your body loses its built-in mechanisms that keep obesity, diabetes, and a whole host of metabolic issues at bay.
Your gut loses its ability to limit and moderate how much of the “bad” lipids your intestines will absorb. Add to that, losing these bacterial strains also means increasing overall intestinal inflammation, which slowly derails your metabolism and leads to weight gain, insulin resistance, and other problems.
Introducing probiotics and kicking sugar
That same study discusses potential ways to help people who find themselves facing such problems after consuming too much sugar over long periods of time. While this research was done on mice and it’s still early to make any final conclusions, there are a few things we can turn to for help.
For starters, to help your gut re-start producing those healthy segmented filamentous bacteria and the immune Th17 cells your gut needs, you need to eliminate sugar from your diet, or at least keep it at a minimum. Then, there might be some benefit to introducing probiotics such as Strengtia to help balance your gut microbiome. Everyone’s gut is different, so this may require ongoing supervision and regular checkups.
Restoring your gut health with nutrition
Last, but certainly not least relevant, sugar (or preferably the lack thereof) is just one component of your diet. It’s crucial to take a close look at how and what you eat and make sure that you’re doing your best to foster the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut.
Make sure that your eating habits are in line with how active or sedentary you are, and that you hydrate properly to further enable your gut to metabolize the nutrients you consume. Another great step you can take is: start reading food labels. You’d be surprised how many foods contain too much sugar (such as ketchup or tomato paste). The more you learn about the foods you eat, the better you’ll be at weeding out what you don’t need.
A single decision, such as consuming too much sugar in your diet, can have dire consequences on your gut, immune system, and ultimately your body’s ability to process nutrients. Instead of dealing with a slew of chronic health issues such as metabolic syndrome, obesity, or diabetes, it’s best to focus on prevention. If you need help minimizing or eliminating sugar from your diet, we’re one consultation away – and you can start getting your lifestyle back on track.