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Your Gut Could Hold The Secret To Getting Leaner

26th January 2021

26th January 2021

By Shivraj Bassi

Your body contains millions and millions of bacteria. In a person who weighs 70g, it’s estimated that there are approximately 40 trillion bacterial cells in your body and only 30 trillion human cells. Gross, right?

Well, not exactly. While the concept of trillions of tiny organisms using your body as a cosy home might be creepy when taken out of context, the bacteria and microorganisms living on your skin and inside your body play a vital role. Most of these bacterial cells are located in your intestines, where they play a crucial part in your health and your immune system.

The bacteria in your gut, and by extension your gut health, can affect your weight. They affect how different foods are digested and they produce chemicals that help you to feel full. It’s crucial to ensure that you understand how what you eat affects your gut, and that you’re eating foods that will promote healthy gut bacteria growth. 

What are gut bacteria?

Most of the trillions of bacteria in your gut live in a section of your large intestine named the cecum. The hundreds of different kinds of bacteria carry out essential tasks which keep you healthy, such as producing vitamin K, and communicate with your immune to help you fight off disease and infection. 

More pertinently for losing weight, they come into contact with food you eat and affect how it’s digested, affecting the nutrients you’re able to absorb and how energy is stored in your body. 

Photo by Eugene Chystiakov on Unsplash

How does gut health affect weight loss?

Fascinatingly, a study which examined 77 pairs of twins, one of whom was obese and one of whom was not, found that the obese twins not only had different gut bacteria but a lower diversity of gut bacteria. Another study showed that if gut bacteria from obese people was transplanted into mice, the mice then start to gain weight. This suggests a correlation between gut bacteria and weight, which may be due to the differing effects of the bacteria on different types of food. 

One example of this is the fact that humans by themselves can’t digest fibre, but certain kinds of gut bacteria can. When the bacteria digest fibre, they produce chemicals which benefit overall gut health and possibly promote weight loss. It’s been shown that people with a high fibre intake tend to weigh less.

Another study discovered that the ratio of two different kinds of intestinal bacteria could determine the amount of weight you lose when you go on a diet. Bacteroidetes, which people who eat more animal protein and fat have more of, and Prevotella, which digests fibre and carbohydrates, were measured in a study where participants ate a high fibre wholegrain diet for 26 weeks. Those with higher levels of Prevotella lost 2.3kg more than those with more Bacteroidetes in their gut. 

The bacteria in your gut is also crucial in the digestion of certain types of antioxidants called flavonoids, which could help to prevent weight gain

Hungry or full? Your gut bacteria have the answers

Hormones are to your appetite what protein is to muscle growth - essential and non-negotiable. Your body produces hormones, including leptin, peptide YY (PYY) and ghrelin, to regulate your appetite, and studies have shown that the differing amount of bacteria in your gut can affect this production, thus determining whether you feel satiated or hungry. 

One study showed that adults who took propionate, a short-chain fatty acid which is produced when certain kinds of gut bacteria break down fibre, had increased levels of two kinds of hormone which affect hunger levels. Participants lost weight and reduced the amount of food they ate. 

What to eat for good gut health

In short, we might not fully comprehend the role gut bacteria has on weight loss and diet, but it’s definitely something that’s worth keeping in mind. To that end, we developed The Digest Capsules, a daily capsule containing probiotics and prebiotics to encourage the growth of good gut bacteria and maintain a strong and diverse micriobiome, with digestive enzymes and ginger to improve digestion and reduce bloating. 

Why not also check out The Lean Protein, a protein supplement crafted to help you slim down. It’s designed to support the metabolisation of fat, reduce your cravings and support muscle repair and growth. On top of all of that, it contains inulin and pomegranates, two ingredients which have been shown to improve gut health. 

There are also number of foods to include in your diet if you’re focusing on improving and maintaining good gut health. 

  • Fruits and vegetables contain lots of different types of fibre, which support positive gut bacteria. Eating lots of different kinds of plant-based foods can help to increase your gut bacteria diversity, which promotes a healthy weight. 
  • Whole grains are also high in fibre and are digested by the bacteria Bifidobacteria, and may help with losing weight.
  • Foods rich in Polyphenol, including green tea, red wine and dark chocolate, are digested by the good kind of bacteria and promote the growth of even more. 
  • Fermented foods such as kimchi, yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha contain bacteria such as lactobacilli which are beneficial and can even minimise the type of gut bacteria which can cause disease. 

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Innermost Investigates: The Truth On Power Plates
Vibration or ‘power plates’ are commonly met with a healthy dose of scepticism. And to be fair, standing on a plate and shaking, at first, doesn’t sound like the most effective method of exercise. What most people aren’t aware of, however, is that vibration plates were developed over 50 years ago by Russian cosmonauts to prevent the loss of muscle mass in space. They continue to be used to this day in space missions, even by NASA. If vibrating plates are good enough to be used on spaceships, then perhaps they’re good enough for the gym.  Innermost is here to investigate the benefits of using vibration plates (on Earth). We’ll answer all your burning questions including: What is a power plate? What does a power plate do? Do power plates work? And how do I use a power plate?  What is a power plate? How do they work? A vibration plate (often called a ‘power plate’) is an exercise machine that sends high-speed vibrations through the entire body. This stimulates your muscles to automatically contract up to 30-50 times more per second than usual. To maximise stimulation, vibration plates move in multiple directions simultaneously – up and down, left and right, front and back. As your body naturally attempts to stabilise itself against the shaking, it engages lots of muscles (many of which aren’t engaged during conventional exercise). And since this stabilisation occurs automatically, you hardly feel it.  8 benefits of vibration plates Ok, so new muscles are engaged a lot more than usual. That sounds great. But what are the actual benefits of power plate exercise?  Saves time Your muscles are working harder, so it takes less time to reach the same goals, cutting down on your workout time. Remedial therapist and Power-Plate specialist trainer Mark Andrews call power plates “the microwave of fitness”. Low impact Power plate exercise is considered low impact, making it suitable for all ages and fitness levels. It is also low impact on joints and ligaments – making it a great form of exercise for people who want to ease into exercise – for example, if you’re a bit older or recovering from an injury. Fat-loss benefits Power plates are a fat burn booster, but at the end of the day, the most proven method for fat-loss is correct nutrition and a calorie deficit. Innermost also offers nutritional supplements for healthy and sustainable fat-loss including The Lean Protein, The Define Booster and The Tone Capsules. Muscle strength and toning benefits Since so many muscle groups are working at the same time and 30-50 times more than usual, your muscles will strengthen and tone even from just standing on a power plate. Improved circulation Vibration plates can be used as a massage tool, which increases circulation in the massaged body parts. Increase core strength, stability, and balance All exercises on a vibration plate forces your body to engage its core to balance and stabilise. Certain exercises such as press-ups or planks (see 5 power plate exercises below) amplify this benefit even more. Increase Flexibility According to the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, using a power plate when stretching (before or after a workout) is more effective than stretching alone. At-home If you’re working from home, too far from a gym, or simply enjoy the convenience of home workouts, you can purchase a power plate to use in the house. A personal power plate and power plate move are both relatively compact pieces of equipment so can fit easily into your home. You can check out more options here. How do I use a power plate? 5 power plate training exercises Plank Get onto the floor and place your forearms onto the power plate. Gently move your knees away from the power plate until your back is completely straight. When you feel confident, have only your toes touching the floor and lift your knees off the ground. Hold for 30 seconds. Press up Similar to the plank, except your hands are on the power plate, shoulder-width apart with your arms out-stretched and locked at the elbows. Again, your back is straight, and you can start with your knees on the floor. When you are confident you can lift your knees off the floor and have just your toes touching the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. If you can, gently bend your elbows to bring your body down close to the power plate and then straighten your elbows again to bring your body back up – congratulations you’ve just done a press-up on a power plate! Leg crunches Sit in the centre of the vibration plate. Place your hands behind you on the edge of the power plate and bend your elbows to help you gently lean back. As you lean back, lift your legs off the ground to counter-balance yourself. The lower half of your legs (below the knee) should be parallel to the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Squat Stand on the power plate with feet shoulder-width apart and toes facing forward. Using out-stretched arms that are parallel to the floor to balance you, gently bend your knees to bring your body down. Hold for 30 seconds. Then gently straighten your knees again to go back up. Keep your back straight at all times. Lunge Stand one ‘stride’ (long-step) away from the power plate. Then, with one leg, take one long step onto the power plate, keeping your toes forward. Gently bend the leg that is on the power plate at the knee, keeping the other leg straight at all times (you should really feel a stretch in the straight leg). Hold for 30 seconds. Then step off the power plate and change legs (i.e. if you stepped with your left leg first, now step with your right leg). So there you have it, a power plate is a space-age exercise machine that boasts lots of fitness benefits. If you’re looking to level up your exercise routine then this is a great option for you. Next time you’re in a gym give it a go, you might be pleasantly surprised! Sources: Is whole-body vibration a good way to lose weight and improve fitness? The 8 Best Ways to Exercise With A Vibration Plate All You Need to Know About: Power Plates The Power Plate: A Space Age Relic Inspires a New Form of Exercise - The New York Times (nytimes.com) Read more
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