Dieting is one of those nasty little words that conjure up thoughts of self-deprivation, starvation, and general misery. I have often mentioned the statistic that 95% of all diet programs fail. Have you ever wondered why such a large failure rate? Guess what, it may not be entirely the fault of the person dieting.
People are very different across genetics, blood types, natural metabolism, lifestyle, even gut bacteria. All these differences make the one size fits all diet programs ridiculous to believe it will work the same across these variations in people.
The general ideas around what we eat are based on a very generalized food pyramid and a well defined good vs bad food types. Yet who is to say that eating ice cream is bad for one person and but not bad for another person? The thinking that kale is good and bananas are not as good for you simply depend on a person's biological make-up.
The bottom line is each of us individually react differently to various foods. The distinction between foods and how people react to them crosses every food type and in many cases, we may not even know that we are having a bad reaction to the food we eat every day.
Seventy percent of people living in the U.S. statistically are overweight. The largest single factor for being overweight in the U.S. is diet based. So what can be done to have healthy natural body weight and what are the causes and effects that makes everyone react differently to all types of foods?
The first aspect we need to understand is approaching nutrition on a personalized basis. This will require you to understand your body and digestion much deeper than most of us think about. Think about the foods that you know make you feel bad. Over the years, most of us have learned to avoid those foods at all cost. But perhaps you need to pay even closer attention to foods that you know cause you weight gain or foods that drain your energy and leave you feeling less than okay. They taste great and you enjoy them, but later you're thinking twice about what you ate.
Most often the reason some foods leave you feeling tired, hungry and even anxious after eating them is how your body's blood glucose levels responded to the type of food you eat. What's interesting about a high blood glucose response is different people can have very different glucose level responses from the same food. For example, greek yogurt with slightly higher sugar content will spike some peoples and only cause a normal level increase in others. The flip side of this is rice as an example. Those people who did not see a spike in glucose levels with yogurt eat rice and their levels spiked. Seems odd but does it? If your body processes foods differently than someone else, it may make sense.
So why should any of this matter when we talk about weight gain and being overweight? What's important is not about a specific diet program, but what foods best fit your biology.
One of the biggest differences between people and what they eat has to do with our individual gut biome. I have been touting good gut bacteria for many years. One of the most defining factors outside of genetics is the roughly one trillion microbes that make-up in our digestive tract. The spectrum of these bacteria are very wide and each of us is completely unique in our precise gut biome. There are even programs that you can sign up for that will send a test kit which you place a fecal sample in and they help you define a compatible nutrition plan. One resource for more information is to follow Eran Segal's research and book.
If you don't want to go to the trouble of analyzing your poop, simply work on building a better colony of bacteria for your digestive tract. Not only will a strong healthy gut biome help your blood glucose response and help with weight management, it also supports 70 percent of your overall immune system.
For me, my probiotic of choice to keep a very healthy gut biome has been primarily fermented foods, specifically goat Kefir, fermented vegetables such as kimchi and bone broth protein. Reduce sugar intake, eat plenty of raw uncooked foods and reduce your meat consumption. These simple adjustments can make a huge difference in your gut biome, overall health and how you react to eating certain foods.
The science behind understanding a personalized nutrition regimen is solid. We are all unique with very different body chemistry and bacteria. Dialing in specific foods to eat and foods to avoid based on your biology has been well documented proven to work. Take the time to know what foods fit your biology and gut biome the best and you can potentially see a major shift your health and natural weight set point.
A recognized health and wellness presenter, fitness trainer and now primal health coach in the Inland Northwest. Now in his eighth year of bringing health and wellness through his writing, teaching and coaching, Judd delivers his well-rounded message of mindfulness, nutrition and fitness to readers and clients alike.