It is not uncommon to hear people complaining about their uncontrollable sugar cravings and insatiable appetite. If we look at our today’s food supply, it is dominated by foods high in processed carbohydrates and refined sugars, which tend to be cheap, readily available and make us feel happy and full… initially!
The civilisation of bacteria in your gut are dependent on the food you choose to eat. Eating too much sugar and/or refined carbohydrates over a few days can completely dysregulate the community and minimise the diversity of residents.
The bacteria that have adapted to thrive on the simple sugars are suggested to be the ones that promote disease and inflammation. The microbes that promote health seem to thrive on prebiotics, which are the fibres found in whole fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, it has been made too easy to displace fibre for simple sugars. Choosing a cupcake over some berries for dessert will not only limit the amount of nutrients you get; it will deprive your good gut microbes from sustenance too.
Sugars are concentrated sources of glucose and calories, so we know they contribute to weight gain and spike insulin with lightning speed. But what about the low/no-calorie sweeteners that are marketed as healthy alternatives? Turns out our gut communities actually have toxic responses to these too. One of the responses includes weight gain, despite being no calorie, the sweetener may encourage blooming of bacteria that promote the storage of fuel as fat.
There are some ways to tell if your gut balance is off, such as bad breath, bloating and running to the bathroom too often or not enough. Luckily, your community can rebuild itself fairly quickly. A diet with a variety of whole foods will provide you with the prebiotics that feed the good bacteria and promote diversity.
If you can adopt this way for eating as a long term lifestyle approach, you will likely notice a reduction in your sugar cravings, better weight management and improved appetite control throughout the day!