Last Updated on August 28, 2020
There are several weight loss mistakes that can damage your gut health.
1. Caloric restriction: Many people believe that if they cut a certain amount of calories from their diet, they will lose weight. Unfortunately, they won’t only be starving themselves; they’re also starving the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Overly restrictive diets interfere with the critical hormones involved in regulating satiety and hunger. It also sets you up for binge eating. In my experience, restricting calories doesn’t result in sustainable weight loss. Sometimes it even contributes to weight gain!
2. Eliminating whole food groups: For example, there is an “expert” running around at the moment telling people to eliminate foods that contain lectin from the diet. That’s completely false. I’ve heard it all before. “Don’t eat tomatoes!” and “Don’t eat XYZ!” People will take whole food groups out of their diet because someone with a white coat and a stethoscope said they should. Don’t eliminate entire food groups. Weight loss doesn’t work that way, and it puts you at risk of not getting enough nutrients, including fiber.
Instead of eliminating entire food groups on speculation, get a comprehensive stool analysis, so you know exactly what is going on in your gut.
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3. Assuming that all salads are healthy: Not all salads are created equal. Some salads contain too much dressing, and the dressing includes high-fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners.
4. Assuming that all “healthy” treats are genuinely healthy: Many people have this idea that things like granola bars are healthy. It’s incredible how many foods in New Zealand have a high “star” rating but are actually junk food. Many granola bars contain a lot of sugar, and some even contain hydrogenated fats. You don’t need granola bars, have an apple instead.
5. Assuming artificial sugars and diet foods are safe: You don’t want artificial sweeteners in your diet. There are several rat and animal studies suggesting that artificial sweeteners are not healthy. I’ve had clients who have suffered serious health consequences due to eating artificial sugars.
6. Considering fruit juice to be a “health” food: Many people still start the day with a tall glass of orange juice, full of sugar, and lacking in fiber. The fiber in fruit is what allows the sugar to be released very slowly. I suggest you ditch the juice and have the whole fruit instead.
7. Following a healthy diet while having an unhealthy lifestyle: No matter how much healthy food you eat, your gut is going to suffer if you’re sleep-deprived. You need to disconnect from your phone, computer, and television if you want to have excellent gut health. Good sleep, good physical activity, and low-stress living are just as important to gut health as your diet.