Are Microbes in Your Gut Affecting Your Weight?

Inside your intestines reside trillions of microorganisms that collectively make up your gut microbiome—and can weigh up to a typical 3 pounds—but far from being a source of undue weight, your gut microbes might be the key to staying slim and fit.

Gut bacteria have been well-studied for their important role in regulating normal immune and intestinal barrier function. Now growing research is improving our understanding in how microbiota affect energy balance including regulation of insulin and fat storage (1-3). These findings might lead to new, promising methods for supporting weight management in the future.

The relationship we have with our gut microbes is thought to be mutually symbiotic, or that their existence within supports us being their hosts (2). We rely on them for a variety of functions that includes crowding out potentially harmful bacteria, acting as part of our immune systems, and through the fermentation of undigested parts of food helping to produce vitamins, short-chain fatty acids, and creating a protective mucus lining of our intestines.

What You Eat Affects Your Microbes

Our hungry gut microbes may, in fact, extract up to half of the calories of the foods we eat. Although it can depend heavily on the types of foods in our diet. A diet that is rich in raw and unprocessed fruits and vegetables will contain a higher amount of prebiotic digestion-resistant starches (such as oligosaccharides) that are more likely to reach the large intestine, where a greater majority of our gut microbes are present (1).

Conversely, a typical Western-style diet that is comprised of processed foods that are high in fat, refined carbohydrates, and sugars not only makes us more likely to absorb caloric energy—leading to weight gain—but presents little nourishment to gut microbes.

The types of microbes in your gut, and their diversity, also plays a role in how food is digested and absorbed. Consequently, these factors can also play a role in the likelihood of how the gut microbiome affects energy balance and weight management.

In studies in mice, for example, the ratio of certain types of microbes—Bacteriodetes and Firmicutes—are found to regulate fat storage and weight gain (1). In obese mice and mice fed a Western-style diet, scientists observed an increase in abundance of Firmicutes with a concomitant decrease in the abundance of Bacteriodetes (1). The reason is thought to be related to how enzymes produced by these microbes affect the metabolism of both lipids and carbohydrates.

Several studies in humans have also found associations between low levels of the bacterial genus Bifidobacterium with being overweight or obese. Similarly, some levels of bacteria, such as Clostridium, reduced in proportion with weight loss.

These associations can only provide clues into the complexity that gut microbes might contribute to weight management. Based on the existing evidence, it’s difficult to reach conclusions on how interventions targeting gut microbiota could be used to deliver changes to the gut microbiome that would be favorable for bodyweight. It’s also far too early to blame obesity on any single bacterial species in a person’s gut microbiome.

Diet and Microbe Diversity Matters

Gathered from the latest scientific evidence, one bit of advice is clear, however: we should all strive to consume diets that encourage microbial diversity for better health and weight management. This recommendation doesn’t involve adhering to any specific eating plan so long as that it includes plenty of high-fiber and a variety of resistant starches that act as prebiotic foods for microbes.

The reason is that studies have consistently shown that a Western-style high-fat-and-sugar diet that is low in fiber and resistant starches is associated with a reduction in microbial diversity (1). It also favors the types of microbes that don’t ferment complex carbohydrates and fibers efficiently. Conversely, following a diet that’s rich and diverse in fruits and vegetables can rapidly reverse losses of microbial diversity (1, 4). Such as diet can also lead to a greater abundance of microbes that more efficiently ferment fibers and digestion-resistant starches.

The end-goal is not only calorie control and weight management. A rich and diverse diet that supports microbial diversity is also associated with improved digestive and long-term overall health.

To find out the latest information on digestive health innovation, click here.


  1. Stephens Rw, Arhire L, and Covasa M. Gut microbiota: from microorganisms to metabolic organ influencing obesity. Obesity. 2018 May; 26(5): 801-809.
  2. Xu J, Gordon JI. Honor thy symbionts. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2003;100:10452‐10459.
  3. Dhurandhar EJ, Keith SW. The aetiology of obesity beyond eating more and exercising less. Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol 2014;28:533‐544.
  4. David LA, Maurice CF, Carmody RN, et al. Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome. Nature. 2014 Jan 23; 505(7484): 559-563.

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Is Poor Digestion Sabotaging Your Health and Weight Loss?

Not only does the nutritional makeup of the food you eat matter for your health, but also how well your body digests that food. What’s more, digestive problems are more common than you might think.

Approximately 60 to 70 million people — or about one in five — in the United States suffers from some form of digestive-health problem, according to the National Institutes of Health (1). In addition, Mintel reports that slightly more than half of U.S. adults have taken over-the-counter remedies for symptoms of indigestion (2).

When working properly, your digestive system breaks down the food that serves as building blocks needed for survival, optimal functioning, and health maintenance. Conversely, when not functioning properly, your digestive system can cause unwelcome symptoms such as gas, bloating, constipation, and poor overall health.

Fundamentals of the Digestive System

The digestive system consists mainly of the gastrointestinal tract, also known as the GI tract or gut, which is a system of hollow organs joined together in a long winding tube. These hollow organs include the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, colon, and rectum. Solid organs including the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder are also part of the digestive system.

After entering the digestive process in the mouth, food travels through the GI tract and is mixed with digestive juices, enzymes, and other compounds that help ensure food is broken down. Then the nutrients are absorbed and sent out into the bloodstream. What’s left over after this process is excreted from the body as waste.

Another important part of the digestive system is our gut microbiome, which is a diverse community of microorganisms that also plays a role in digestion of foods and maintaining health (3). Each of us has our own unique bacterial composition that’s affected by various factors including our environment, diet, physical activity, weight, and even stress. When our gut microbiome is in balance, it contributes to overall good health; conversely, if an imbalance occurs, it can lead to poor health outcomes (4-5).

How to Support Your Digestive System

So, how can one best support their digestive system to maintain good health? For starters, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical exercise, and keeping stress levels controlled all contribute to healthy digestive system functioning. Supplemental nutrition factors can also contribute to a well-functioning digestive system.

As enzymes play a critical role in the body’s ability to break down the nutrients in the foods we eat, supplementation with them is sometimes necessary. Certain factors like age and conditions associated with poor digestion make enzyme supplementation even more important to aid in the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins and to increase the availability of nutrients (6-7). Additionally, age and other factors may lead to insufficient production of the enzymes needed to digest plant sugars and fibers from fruits and vegetables (8). Plant-based proteins can also be difficult to digest.

Indirectly, these factors can lead a person to avoid lower-calorie fruits and vegetables and rely more heavily on higher-calorie meat products or processed foods. Supplementation with digestive enzymes may help those who have trouble with digesting fruits and vegetables and improve nutrient availability from these plant foods, supporting overall health and weight management.

Supporting microbial diversity in the gut can also support better digestive health. Diet is a major influence on the makeup and diversity of the gut microbiome (9). A diet containing more plant-based foods affects the gut microbiota differently than a diet that contains a larger amount of animal-based foods (10). Regardless of diet type, probiotic supplementation can be beneficial for improving microbial balance and lending diversity to the gut microbiome.

To find out the latest information on digestive health innovation, click here.


  1. Everhart JE, editor. The burden of digestive diseases in the United States. US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 2008; NIH Publication No. 09-6443.
  2. Mintel Group Ltd. Digestive Health. US, July 2018.
  3. Buford TW. (Dis)Trust your gut: the gut microbiome in age-related inflammation, health, and disease. Microbiome. 2017 Jul; 5: 80.
  4. Stephens Rw, Arhire L, and Covasa M. Gut microbiota: from microorganisms to metabolic organ influencing obesity. Obesity. 2018 May; 26(5): 801-809.
  5. Le Chatelier E, Nielsen T, Qin J, et al. Richness of human gut microbiome correlates with metabolic markers. Nature. 2013 Aug 29; 500: 541-6.
  6. Roxas M. The role of enzyme supplementation in digestive disorders. Alt Med Rev. 2008; 13(4): 307-314.
  7. Ianiro G, Pecere S, Giorgio V, et al. Digestive enzyme supplementation in gastrointestinal diseases. Curr Drug Metab. 2016 Feb; 17(2): 187-193.
  8. Anderson JW and Chen WJ. Plant fiber. Carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Am J Clin Nutr. 1979 Feb; 32(2): 346-63.
  9. David LA, Maurice CF, Carmody RN, et al. Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome. Nature. 2014 Jan 23; 505(7484): 559-563.
  10. Glick-Bauer M and Yeh M. The health advantage of a vegan diet: exploring the gut microbiota connection. Nutrients. 2014 Oct 31; 6: 4822-4838.

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Weight Loss Journey Day 69 (Isagenix Cleanse Day 2)

Join me as I take my life and my weight back into my own hands. Day 2 of Intermittent Fasting with Isagenix Cleanse For Life. #WeightLoss #Isagenix #NoExcuses #Cleanse #Fasting.

How To Make a Protein Shake for Weight Loss | Protein Shake Recipes | The Fat Loss Factor Program

more info about How To Make a Protein Shake for Weight Loss. The best protein shake recipes, The Fat Loss Factor Program for weight loss Isagenix…

Why Managing Stress Is Key for Weight Control

If achieving a healthy lifestyle is your goal, then managing stress should be a top priority.

Stress is often the unseen factor hampering the weight loss efforts of many. Unfortunately, it’s not something that can be easily changed and often goes unaddressed when implementing a positive lifestyle change.

How Does Stress Affect Health?

There are several ways stress can impact your well-being. From a biological standpoint, the hormone cortisol plays an integral role in your body’s reaction to stressful situations. One of its functions is to help make energy readily available, if needed, to escape or fight off an attack. This acute physiological response is also referred to as the fight-or-flight response.

This same function occurs when handling more modern sources of stress, such as a tough day at the office or a long day with the kids. While this mechanism helps keep you “safe,” long-term stress can start to have negative impacts on your health. Studies have linked higher levels of cortisol in individuals under stress to numerous negative outcomes that affect your brain, nervous system, sleep patterns, cardiovascular health, and weight (1).

Does Stress Really Affect Your Waistline?

The short answer is yes. Many can relate to finding their progress stalled during a weight loss journey. You might feel like you’re doing everything right and following your plan to a T, yet you still aren’t seeing results. If that is the case, there may be unseen factors at play hampering your efforts. Uncontrolled stress and poor sleep are common culprits.

While acute stress stemming from a breakup, family trauma, or financial troubles is often associated with unwanted weight loss, continuous stress or ongoing problems lasting for months to years (chronic stress) is associated with less nutritious food choices, resulting in weight gain (2, 3).

One study investigating stress’s effect on weight found that increased cortisol was associated with a reduction in dietary restraint and increased calorie intake, leading to weight gain among women (4). The researchers also noted that the increased calories specifically came from foods high in refined carbohydrates and saturated fats (4).

Researchers are pinpointing these changes in normal dietary patterns during periods of prolonged stress as a driving factor in the association between chronic stress and obesity. They have also observed that going through long-term stress induces distinct behavioral changes such as decreasing physical activity, increasing sedentary behavior, and decreasing sleep duration (2). A combination of any of these changes (physiological or behavioral) can take a toll on your health and weight.

Five Ways to Better Navigate Stress

Here are five things you can do to better navigate stressful seasons in your life:

1. Acknowledge the stress you are under and re-evaluate your goals. Shifting your focus to self-care through proper nutrition, physical activity, and stress management can help you feel your best during trying times. This mindset shift can eliminate the pressure of seeing dramatic changes on the scale, making your emotional and mental health a much-needed priority.

2. Prioritize activity you enjoy. Whether your workout is a challenging class, “you time,” or a social opportunity to catch up with friends, make it a staple in your daily routine. Physical activity of any kind has been shown to help alleviate stress and improve mood (5). Getting active each day is also a cornerstone of health and supports your weight loss goals. When you are starting to feel busy or overwhelmed, don’t let your workout routine be the first to go.

3. Stick with your Shake Days. Studies have shown that those who are struggling with chronic stress are more prone to cravings (2). Following your Shake Day schedule can help you stay satiated throughout the day and much less likely to cave to your appetite. Shake Days are designed to fuel your body with dense nutrition, so you can look and feel your best. With the bonus of convenience, IsaLean® Shakes and Bars can take the stress out of mealtime.

4. Drink adaptogens daily. Whether it is a tough workout, a rough day, or a stressful time in your life, adaptogens have been shown to help your body adjust (6, 7). Making Ionix® Supreme part of your daily routine can give you consistent adaptogen support.

5. Enhance your relaxation time with Essence by Isagenix Essential Oil. Both Isagenix Lavender and Frankincense Essential Oils have been shown to help you decompress by creating a soothing environment. During your next quiet time, try adding one of these oils to a diffuser for a more relaxing experience.

Because stress is often unavoidable, an important step in protecting your health is developing methods to better navigate these stressful times and prevent negative long-term effects. Isagenix products can help you achieve this goal.


  1. Roberts C, Troop N, Connan F, Treasure J, Campbell IC. The effects of stress on body weight: biological and psychological predictors of change in BMI. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007 Dec;15(12):3045-55. doi: 10.1038/oby.2007.363.
  2. Chao A, Grilo CM, White MA, Sinha R. Food cravings mediate the relationship between chronic stress and body mass index. J Health Psychol. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2018 Oct 14. Published in final edited form as: J Health Psychol. 2015 Jun; 20(6): 721–729. doi: [10.1177/1359105315573448]
  3. Masih T, Dimmock JA, Epel ES, Guelfi KJ. Stress-induced eating and the relaxation response as a potential antidote: A review and hypothesis. Appetite. 2017 Nov 1;118:136-143. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.08.005. Epub 2017 Aug 5.
  4. Roberts CJ, Campbell IC, Troop N. Increases in weight during chronic stress are partially associated with a switch in food choice towards increased carbohydrate and saturated fat intake. Eur Eat Disord Rev. 2014 Jan;22(1):77-82. doi: 10.1002/erv.2264. Epub 2013 Oct 4.
  5. Pedersen BK and Saltin B. Exercise as medicine – evidence for prescribing exercise as therapy in 26 different chronic diseases. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2015 Nov; 25(53): 1-72.
  6. Panossian A, Wikman G. Evidence-based efficacy of adaptogens in fatigue, and molecular mechanisms related to their stress-protective activity. Curr Clin Pharmacol 2009;4:198-219.
  7. Panossian A, Wikman G. Effects of adaptogens on the central nervous system and the molecular mechanisms associated with their stress-protective activity. Pharmaceuticals 2010; 3: 188-224.

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Here’s the Skinny on Holiday Weight Gain

The holidays are a time for fun, family, and celebration. The holidays are also the time of year when those sneaky, unwanted pounds start to add up. In this conversation, Registered Dietitian and Isagenix Nutritionist Lindsay Gnant shares some surprising statistics about holiday weight gain. Listen in as Kjersti and Lindsay discuss tips for enjoying the holiday season while still fitting into your skinny jeans.

Check out this episode!


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Podcast: The Skinny on Holiday Weight Gain

Trainer: Lindsay Gnant MS, RDN, Sr. Nutrition & Scientific Affairs Specialist


The holidays are a time for fun, family, and celebration. The holidays are also the time of year when those sneaky, unwanted pounds start to add up. In this conversation, Registered Dietitian and Isagenix Nutritionist Lindsay Gnant shares some surprising statistics about holiday weight gain. Listen in as Kjersti and Lindsay discuss tips for enjoying the holiday season while still fitting into your skinny jeans.

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