Healing your gut is so on trend. The recommendations for probiotics are everywhere and there’s not a shelf in the store that doesn’t boast benefits for gut health. You’ve probably been tempted to drop four dollars on a kombucha at least once this week.
Gut health is critical for your overall wellness — it can cure indigestion, stabilize your mood, and even banish acne. It seems it can do anything and everything under the sun.
But here’s one thing it can’t do: Weight loss.
Somewhere along the way, wading through article after article of nutritionist-approved advice to fix your ‘leaky gut’, consumers got confused. Maybe it’s because your gut is located in your stomach and we’ve been trained to trim belly fat. Maybe it’s because your gut processes the foods you eat and we believe that having a healthy gut might prevent foods from getting stored as fat around your waist. The motivation behind the misunderstanding is unclear.
You very well could lose weight on your gut health journey. But you also might not.
It’s true that optimizing your gut health will help your body absorb more nutrients. Your digestion will reap more beneficial compounds from the same foods, resulting in better health overall. It’s true that with better gut health, damaging inflammation will calm down a bit. This could reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease, dementia, digestive distress, type 2 diabetes, and more.
From taking probiotics, you’ll likely notice that you feel so much better, more energized, and just healthier. But you still might not lose weight.
There’s a concept out there that body fat is an indicator of poor health. This is where gut-healing gurus went wrong. While there is a correlation between a higher body fat percentage and poor health outcomes, there has never been a proven causation. Scientists have been consistently befuddled by “healthy fat people”, trying to find explanations for these exceptions to their rules denoting a person’s ideal body weight.
You could get healthier and stay the same weight. You could get healthier and gain weight. In all probability, you’ll get healthier and the number on the scale will remain exactly the same.
So we recommend that you do invest in your gut health, whether that’s by taking probiotics, eating kimchi, or just laying off the gut-heavy meals every now and then. But don’t do it for the weight loss. Do it because it makes you healthier — in a way you’ll be able to physically feel.