Obesity & Microbiome

Have you tried everything to get rid of your excess weight, but could not succeed? If so, you’ve come to the right place!

There are three basic things you need to lose weight. We already know two of these: exercise and eating habits.
However, there is one more thing that has been overlooked: your gut microbiota. You need to look at your microbiome in order to ensure permanent and sustainable weight loss.

Let’s take a look at how to get rid of excess weight in a healthy, active, and fun way!

What Is Obesity? Is Obesity a Disease?

Obesity, also known as being overweight, is a disease that occurs as a result of excessive accumulation of fat in the body and must be treated.

How Does Obesity Develop?

Obesity develops when the amount of energy taken from food is higher than the amount of energy consumed by the metabolism and physical activity.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about one-third of the global population is considered overweight. It is estimated that there are currently 250 million obese adults and at least 500 million overweight people in the world.

This is a quite shocking and high statistic. However, it is also an important figure for understanding how to lose weight.

How Can Obesity Be Diagnosed?

Body Mass Index (BMI) is commonly used to determine obesity based on the obesity classification of the World Health Organization. BMI is a value obtained by dividing the bodyweight of an individual (kg) by the square of his/her height (m) (BMI=kg/m2). BMI is used to estimate body weight based on height, but does not provide information about body fat distribution.

Classification of underweight, overweight, and obesity in adults according to BMI

Classification

BMI (kg/m2)

 

Key intersection points

Improved intersections

Underweight

<18.50

<18.50

Severe thinness

<16.00

<16.00

Moderate thinness

16.00 – 16.99

16.00 – 16.99

Mild thinness

17.00 – 18.49

17.00 – 18.49

Normal

18.50 – 24.99

18.50 – 22.99

23.00 – 24.99

Chubby, mildly obese, overweight

> 25.00

> 25.00

Pre-obese

25.00 – 29.99

25.00 – 27.49

27.50 – 29.99

Obese

> 30.00

> 30.00

Class I Obesity

30.00 – 34-99

30.00 – 32.49

32.50 – 34.99

Class II Obesity

35.00 – 39.99

35.00 – 37.49

37.50 – 39.99

Class III Obesity

> 40.00

> 40.00

In recent years, researchers have focused on the region and distribution of fat in the body rather than the total amount of fat in the body. This is because the region and distribution of fat in the body have been associated with various diseases.

Adipose tissue constitutes 15-18% of body weight in the adult male and 20-25% in the adult female. Obesity develops when this rate exceeds 25% in the male and 30% in the female.

Obesity and the Diseases It Affects

Fat around the waist poses a greater risk for health problems.

The risk of diseases related to obesity in adults and waist circumference measurements are as follows:

Gender

Risk

 (=BMI>25)

High risk

(=BMI>30)

Male

> 94

> 102

Female

> 80

> 88

Obesity is a strong risk factor for many chronic diseases including dyslipidemia, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, venous thromboembolism, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cholelithiasis, gout, many types of cancer (especially breast, prostate, and colon), dementia, sleep apnea, polycystic ovary syndrome, hip and knee osteoarthritis, and infertility.

In addition to all these, symptoms of obesity may include:

  • Excessive sweating,
  • Snoring,
  • Difficulty performing physical activities,
  • Overall feeling of tiredness,
  • Joint and back pain,
  • Low self-confidence and poor sense of self.

What Are the Causes of Obesity?

Most people think obesity is genetic, and it seems rightfully so. Studies have revealed that that the effect of genetics on obesity ranges between 40% and 70%.

While genetics undoubtedly plays a significant role in our weight, it is not the only reason for experiencing weight problems. The following factors affect obesity:

  1. Increased intake of calories,
  2. Decreased physical activity,
  3. Depression, anxiety,
  4. Excessive and bad eating habits,
  5. Advanced age,
  6. Gender,
  7. Level of education,
  8. Socio-cultural factors,
  9. Hormonal and metabolic factors,
  10. Following very low-energy diets at frequent intervals,
  11. Smoking, consumption of alcohol,
  12. Number of childbirths and the intervals between childbirths,
  13. Eating disorders,
  14. Use of certain drugs: various types of drugs such as glucocorticosteroids, antipsychotics, some antidepressants, and some drugs used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus (especially insulin) cause obesity.

How Can We Fight Obesity?

Before it comes to treatment, it is necessary to prevent the onset of obesity by adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle.

The goal of obesity treatment is: to reduce the risk of diseases and deaths related to obesity by aiming for realistic body weight loss, to provide the individual with sufficient and balanced nutrition habits, and to improve the quality of life.

Any underlying medical or psychiatric condition that contributes to obesity should be addressed and interventions should be included in the action plan for treating obesity. Changes in the diet are very important for weight loss.

1. Medical Nutrition (Diet) Therapy

Medical nutrition therapy plays a key role in the treatment of obesity. Nutrition therapy in obesity aims to decrease body weight to an appropriate level proportional to the height (BMI= 18.5 – 24.9 kg/m2). Don’t forget that medical nutrition (diet) therapy is personalized for each individual!

When body weight decreases to the desired level proportional to the height (BMI= 18.5 – 24.9 kg/m2), weight gain should be prevented and the lost weight should be maintained.

2. Exercise

It is known that physical activity reduces fat tissue and abdominal fat, and prevents the loss of muscle mass which can be experienced when dieting. Exercise therapy, which can complement medical nutrition therapy, can help prevent weight gain, as well as weight loss and weight regain.

Adults are recommended to engage in moderate-intensity exercise for about 30 minutes each day.

Don’t forget, your recommended fitness program should be unique, fun, applicable, and in harmony with your daily living habits!

3. Pharmacotherapy (Drug Therapy)

There are various medical treatments for obesity. However, the lost weight is regained when the drug is discontinued after pharmacotherapy. The evidence in regards to the long-term effects of drug therapy is limited.

In addition, the side effects of the drugs include constipation, dry mouth, and insomnia, as well as an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

The drugs commonly used in the treatment of obesity include the following:

Appetite suppressants (sympathomimetics): Sibutramine, phentermine, benzphetamine, phendimetrazine, and diethylpropion.

Orlistat: reduces the absorption of the fat you consume. The diet needs to be supplemented with fat-soluble vitamins and phytonutrients while taking this drug.

4. What Is Obesity Surgery?

Bariatric surgery is administered to morbidly obese patients (BMI> 40 kg/m2), patients with BMI>35 kg/m2, and individuals with co-morbid diseases such as diabetes.

Obesity surgeries help in weight loss by limiting how much one can eat, reducing the absorption of nutrients, or performing both of these functions together.

While some bariatric surgeries provide the feeling of early satiety by shrinking the stomach to ensure less eating and drinking, some bariatric surgeries, on the other hand, reduce nutrient absorption and calorie intake with the changes they cause in the small intestines. Other bariatric surgical interventions have mixed effects that are both restrictive and reduce nutrient absorption.

Surgery is generally not recommended until changes in lifestyle are determined to have failed.

5. Microbiome Modulation

The microbiome plays an important role in regulating intestinal transit rate and the digestion of indigestible carbohydrates. Thus, the microbiome influences the amount of energy absorbed from the diet. This function and other important functions explain the significant role of the microbiome in weight gain and metabolism.

In a study where a low-calorie diet rich in fruits and vegetables was followed, all participants did not lose the same amount of weight. Therefore, researchers administered a microbiome analysis on the participants. According to the results, it was found that the percentage of Dialister was higher in individuals who were not able to lose weight.

In addition, it has been reported that microbial diversity is reduced in obese individuals. Obese subjects with a less diverse microbiome profile had higher rates of BMI, fat mass, insulin sensitivity, and inflammation.

Moreover, in one of the significant animal studies demonstrating the role of gut microbiota in obesity, there was a 60% increase in body fat and insulin resistance in rats 2 weeks after the administration of feces from obese rate to adult, germ-free, and normal-weight rats, despite reduced food intake.

In other words, if you have tried everything and haven’t been able to lose weight, the solution may be hidden in your microbiome. Don’t wait! Explore the world inside you, provide it with the food it needs, and enjoy permanent and sustainable weight loss!

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