WHY DOESN’T DIET WORK FOR ME? 

 

Diet is a very important factor to your health. A healthy diet supplies your body with energy, materials for body-building and repair, and essential minerals and vitamins. It would have been nice if what we eat supplied the above only. However, along with the benefits of food come undesirable effects which may arise from eating too little, too much or our body’s inability to properly handle what we eat. These factors make our response to diet vary from one individual to another. 

One common concern with diet is excessive weight gain. Many people try to avoid this by paying close attention to their diet. A number of them achieve good results from diet modification. However, a sizable number still fail to meet their goals. While lack of compliance with their chosen diet plan may be a factor, sometimes failure is beyond this. Why diet may seem not to work for some may be due to underlying gut conditions. 

This article looks at the leaky gut syndrome and other gut conditions and how they affect an individual’s success in weight control. 

Leaky Gut Syndrome 

The human intestine has an internal lining spanning over 4,000 square feet in surface area. This lining provides the required surface area for absorption of food. However, it also serves as a barrier that regulates what eventually gets into your bloodstream. When this barrier is breached, incompletely digested food materials, harmful microbes and

toxins cross into the bloodstream thereby provoking certain immune responses that give you problems in your gut and other parts of your body. 

As it is common with other conditions, individuals may have varying degrees of natural predisposition to having a leaky gut. However, external factors play more significant roles. For example, stress, heavy alcohol consumption, high sugary diet and low-fibre diet are known causes. 

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) 

People suffering from this condition experience heartburn which is a painful burning sensation in their chest due to the rise of the acid in the stomach up to the oesophagus. They tend to find comfort in eating as the food mixed with saliva dilutes the acid and relieves their discomfort. However, because this relief is temporary, they soon find themselves overeating and this can lead to weight gain, sabotaging their efforts to control weight through diet modification. 

Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD) 

Persons with PUD have sores in their stomach or the upper part of their small intestine. Those who have gastric ulcers usually experience their pain following food and therefore dread to eat and end up losing weight. 

Those suffering from duodenal ulcers, on the other hand, experience pain when they are hungry. They usually eat bits of food at frequent intervals to relieve this pain. While eating provides temporary relief, the body ends up with extra calories and weight.

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth 

When the balance in your gut microbiome is distorted in the favour of excessive bacterial growth, the bacteria produce methane as they feed on the food in your gut. Methane slows down small intestinal activity, allowing more time for absorption in them than in others. With greater absorption, they also gain more weight. 

Poor Compliance 

It is one thing to make a diet plan that is impeccable on paper, and another thing to follow the diet as planned. Without the discipline to eat what you preach, your diet plan will still not work for you. So, before you lay the blame on your diet, check your compliance. 

Making the Diet Work 

Given that why diet may not work for you may be due to multiple factors, the approach to making it work is also multipronged. Consider the following life modifications if diet does not seem to work for you. 

Diet: Pay attention to your diet. Keeping a diet register for a start may be quite helpful. This will help you identify the particular food items that cause you troublesome gut symptoms. Eliminate such from your diet. In addition, prioritize consumption of fruit, legumes and vegetables which help the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut due to their high fibre content. Also, make sure you comply with your diet plan.

Reduce stress: Stress is a known factor in leaky gut syndrome as well as peptic ulcer disease. Hormones like cortisol that are released when you are stressed harm your intestinal lining. Make sure to rest and have adequate sleep in order to reduce stress. 

Avoid antibiotics abuse: Excessive use of antibiotics attacks the beneficial microbes in your gut thereby leaving the gut lining vulnerable to colonization by harmful microbes. Make sure to avoid unauthorized long periods of antibiotics consumption. 

Seek proper treatment for gut conditions: Rather than merely use food to temporarily medicate discomfort in your gut, seek your doctor’s advice on proper treatment of conditions like GERD and PUD. 

The gut is very important to diet and weight control. An individual’s overall health is dependent on his diet in very tangible ways. If you’re having difficulty achieving weight control through diet modification, you need to pay attention to other suggestive symptoms in your gut. 

References 

Marcelo Campos. (2019). Leaky gut: What is it, and what does it mean for you? Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/leaky-gut-what-is-it-and-what-does-it-mean-fo r-you-2017092212451

Karen Graham. (2020). What causes leaky gut? Retrieved from https://www.smartnutritionbykg.com/what-causes-leaky-gut 

Locke Hughes. (2019). 9 Ways digestive problems could be totally screwing with your weight. Retrieved from https://www.redbookmag.com/body/health-fitness/a42341/digestive-problems/

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