One of the secrets to weight loss is proper digestion. The fat collecting around your mid-section is a reflection of the direct relationship between sluggish digestion, slow metabolism and weight gain. By increasing digestive efficiency you can effectively shed extra fat, boost metabolism and support nearly every other area of health in the process. Digestion is at the very center of our core health. It sets the foundation for health, happiness and well-being. We now have greater insight into the many roles digestion plays in immunity, hormonal balance, and even mental and emotional health. Traditional healing practices around the world have long recognized these relationships. In fact, some Eastern medical systems treat nearly every disease by addressing the digestive system. When we optimize our digestion, everything else comes into balance including your weight.
“Optimal digestive function means we’re breaking down food properly, absorbing enough of the right nutrients and eliminating the waste that we don’t need. It’s a very organized, efficient and meticulous process. But we need energy to perform these tasks, and much of that energy comes from nutrients we digest. It seems like a bit of a catch-22: We need energy in order for our digestive system to break down food, but we get much of that energy from food. If digestion is sluggish, we can’t break down nutrients properly to get more energy. This creates a vicious cycle that leads to a type of malnutrition in our cells, tissues and organs. Wastes build up, you retain water and your body converts excess calories to fat, since the body isn’t digesting them properly.
Usually, this cycle starts with unhealthy dietary habits: eating too many processed foods that hinder digestive function by depleting our enzymes, probiotics and other factors critical for strong digestion. Unhealthy foods, particularly refined sugars, also spike glucose and insulin. The result is inflammation — another major culprit in weight gain and slow metabolism.” Dr. Isaac Eliaz
Basically every food group needs a specific enzyme to break it down and be absorbed. Amylase breaks down starches, protease breaks down protein, lipase breaks down lipids (fats) lactase breaks down lactose (milk sugar) etc. Let’s use lactose intolerance as an example that most of us have heard of. Lactose is simply 2 milk sugars attached to each other. It requires lactase (the milk digesting enzyme) to break it down into single molecules. Humans are the only species that drink milk past the weaning stage and who drink milk from another species so we are not well designed to drink milk because many of us stop producing lactase past the weaning stage. When you cannot break down a food, it sits in the gut and causes gas and bloating. Over time if you are not paying attention to this, it could wear down the gut lining causing leaky gut syndrome and over a longer period of time, could cause autoimmune issues.
You know when your mouth waters just thinking about food? That’s amylase, your starch digesting enzyme which is produced in you saliva and your pancreas. That’s your body preparing for digestion. The pancreas secretes all 3 types of enzymes so if you don’t have a pancreas you are going to have digestive issues, especially when it comes to fat and protein.
So what to do? The first thing you should do is rule out food intolerance’s. Eliminate all milk and milk products from your diet as well as gluten, corn and soy for at least 10 days to 2 weeks. Then drink a huge glass of milk and see how you feel. Did you get gas and bloating? If so then you probably have an intolerance to dairy. Add back each food group separately so you know which food is the culprit. Don’t ignore the signs because food intolerance’s can cause a plethora of issues down the road as mentioned above.
It’s also possible that you don’t have enough enzymes in your gut to break down your food. The truth is, most of us think that we have too much acid in our guts thus giving us heartburn where the truth is actually quite the opposite. In most cases, you do not have ENOUGH digestive enzymes to break down your foods. The churning action of the stomach muscles physically breaks down the food. The stomach then releases acids and enzymes for the breakdown of food. What happens when you eat and you don’t have enough enzymes to break down the food is that it sits in the gut and causes gas and bloating. You will also give bacteria a perfect environment to feast on the undigested foods, causing a bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. This will cause the heavy bloated feeling and the heartburn.
If you are not breaking down your food properly, you will not absorb the nutrients from the food causing a lot of problems due to a nutritional deficiency. This will cause weight gain because your body is “starving” for nutrients and becomes very efficient at storing fat for future energy.
I suggest taking a full spectrum digestive enzyme as well as a probiotic supplement and your symptoms should disappear pretty quickly but if you have food intolerance’s, you need to give up those foods and find a healthy alternative for them. You should all know how I feel about gluten (and weight gain) by now and I have given you many alternatives for gluten-laden foods in this blog. Just use your imagination and be prepared at all times.