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How bad digestion can make you fat

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We recently published how sleep deprivation can stall fat loss goals. Today, we are going to cover another common road block to fat loss - poor DIGESTION. Katherine Watkins gave us some great information on why proper digestion is so important for fat loss including a few simple tips we can implement now to get things working more efficiently.

How can bad digestion make you fat?

If you have a poorly functioning digestive system, even the healthiest of foods won't be processed properly.This can lead to chronic health problems and weight gain. Your body does not need steak or potatoes. Food needs to be converted into small particles - amino acids, glucose, minerals, fat molecules, vitamins and enzymes - that can penetrate the cell walls and nourish your cells. For your body to perform optimally, burn fat and be energetic and vibrant you must DIGEST your foods properly.

Here are some of the main ways in which poor digestion can lead to weight gain

1. Nutrient deficiency

If your body is not breaking down food properly, this can cause a deficiency in the vitamins and minerals necessary for your body to burn fat efficiently. Studies have shown that micronutrient deficiency can cause as much as an 80% increase in the likelihood of becoming overweight or obese. Further, you need adequate levels of protein in the blood to keep blood sugar levels stable. Thus, not digesting your proteins properly can cause blood sugar spikes and weight gain.

2. Leaky gut

Poor digestion can lead to a syndrome known as leaky gut. This is where the walls of your stomach and intestines become compromised and allow food particles to leak through the bloodstream. When these food particles enter the bloodstream your body views them as toxic and attacks them as if they are foreign invaders. This creates inflammation and swelling. When there is inflammation, fat burning is slowed down and may even stop entirely. Not only that, your body will hold on to water between the fat cells, making you appear swollen and bloated.

3. Poor detoxification

Proper detoxification is vital for weight loss. Toxin excess is a very common reason for rapid weight gain - you can put on as much as 25-50 llbs in a year if you have excessive toxin challenges that go unmanaged. A properly functioning digestive system is one of the most important ways in which to detoxify toxins from the body by processing and eliminating them as waste. Without good digestion, we cannot effectively clear toxins from the body making it very difficult to lose any weight.

How to improve your digestion

1. Breathe

Breathing as a simple yet powerful fool that we can use regulate our nervous system and aid digestion. Breathing through the mouth, as we do when we are anxious, nervous or stressed, activates our sympathetic nervous system (meaning our body goes into stress mode). When we are in sympathetic mode, we cannot digest food properly. Breathing through the nose will put our body into parasympathetic (or relaxed) mode. So before you eat, take 5 slow breaths in and out of your nose and your body will relax and become ready to digest your food.

2. Eat less

One of the most common reasons for poor digestion is overeating. Too much food entering your body at once overwhelms your upper digestive system resulting in heartburn, gas, diarrhea and other symptoms. A simple trick is just to reduce your portion size. Instead of stuffing yourself until you feel ready to burst, eat until you are about two thirds full.

3. Chew properly

The purpose of chewing your food is not simply to grind up the food in your mouth so that you can swallow it. Important enzymes for digesting carbohydrates and fats are secreted by the glands in your mouth so if you swallow your food too quickly, you simply will not digest it properly. Learn to take your time when eating, chew each bite thoroughly (around 25 chews) and enjoy it!

4. Stay hydrated

Drinking enough water is essential for good health and especially important for digestion. Water bulks up your stool and keeps it moving along so you don't get constipated. Water also plays an essential role in detoxification by flushing the toxins from your entire body, including your digestive system. Make it a habit to drink water regularly throughout the day to avoid becoming dehydrated. If you don't normally drink much water, make a conscious effort to do so. Drink a glass first thing in the morning and swap any sodas, energy drinks or coffees for water throughout the day. As a general guideline, you should be drinking around 0.7 oz of water per llb of bodyweight (or 39 ml per kg). So if you weigh 150 llbs (68 kg) you need to drink approximately 105 oz or 2.65 litres of water per day.

5. Be active

Exercise supports proper digestion by stimulating the normal contractions of the intestines and reducing constiption. In general, 30-45 minutes of light to moderate exercise each day will support gut health and an overall sense of well being.

6. Add vinegar

Adding apple cider or balsamic vinegar to your meals will help encourage the production of stomach acid which will helps break down protein. This will help prevent blood sugar spikes.

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