May 5, 2016
I meet a lot of patients interested in losing weight. Often they have tried several diet and exercise programs only to wind up exactly where they were when they started. Aside from the pounds they wish to shed, there can be many different symptoms that seem completely unrelated yet, are actually part of the whole picture. I find the best way to help patients lose weight and correct the underlying imbalance is by healing the delicate ecosystem of the gut microbiome.
Like all health conditions, weight loss requires personalized medicine that works on the specific needs of the individual. A one-size fits all approach will fail for most people-especially when talking about diet. It’s only through proper testing that the exact nature of the underlying processes can be illuminated and corrected.
Additionally, improving insulin resistance can do wonders when it comes to weight loss and, its one of the best ways to improve the gut microbiome. A glucose tolerance test (GTT) is a provocation test to measure how quickly glucose is cleared from the blood. It is a great tool to diagnose dysfunction in blood sugar processing especially insulin resistance.
I rely on two main dietary approaches to improve the microbiome based on the results of testing. The first is focused on removing pathogenic bacteria by limiting high-fiber fermentable compounds they require for nourishment. Once these food sources are omitted, bacteria in their weakened state are easily neutralized using targeted botanical supplements.
The second approach is actually the opposite and includes large amounts of pre and probiotic foods to feed and support friendly bacteria. Radish, jicama, onion, asparagus and leek are some of the top prebiotic superfoods shown to encourage the growth and reproduction of beneficial bacteria. The use of fermented foods
rich in live probiotic cultures can help increase the numbers and strains of helpful organisms living in the intestine. Additionally, supplement forms of L. rhamnosus and Lactobacillus gasseri are the best available strains to help jumpstart weight loss.
While these diets seem like polar opposites, there is a lot of grey area between them and patients frequently respond to a combination of both. In some cases I may use the restricted diet but introduce fermented foods like kimchi or sauerkraut early on.
Often people begin their journey on the first diet, but transition to the prebiotic plan. When working with the microbiome, it is imperative to customize the diet to the needs of the individual for optimal results. At the Kellman Center our goal is always to put the unique needs of each patient first.