FITNESS: Follow your gut to good health

Your stomach and intestines are more than a garburator

Losing weight, or more correctly fat, is necessary for more than half of our population, writes Sooke fitness guru Ron Cain. (

Losing weight, or more correctly fat, is necessary for more than half of our population, writes Sooke fitness guru Ron Cain. (

Ron Cain | Contributed

Your stomach and intestines are more than a garburator. What goes into your gut has a significant impact on your health.

The process of breaking down your food into nutrition is profoundly important to your physical and mental health.

Not all gut tracks are created equal. Inflammation and inability to lose weight are common byproducts of a gut track that is in distress. This can hardly be a surprise to many: if you dumped your garbage on your vegetable garden, would you want to eat the veggies, if any grew at all?

The gut tract and its associated bacteria are crucial to your health. Some specialists refer to it as the body’s second brain. The primary brain makes all of the wrong food choices, and the secondary brain tries its best to get what it can from poor food.

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Is harmful gut bacteria a factor in some people’s challenges in losing weight? Absolutely – that and a host of other issues, such as eating foods that the person is sensitive to or even allergic to.

Many people are eating foods that their gut tract is not happy with. Our daughter was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome as a teen after gaining 35 pounds while maintaining a rigorous fitness regimen. The physician offered no advice at all.

Blood work through a naturopath physician resulted in a list of foods she needed to avoid, and after eliminating those foods, the weight came off very fast. Not only did foods such as wheat and bananas make her gain weight, but her moods were also severely impacted to the point we could tell when she was eating foods she wasn’t supposed to.

The experience prompted me to undergo the same tests, and I was surprised to find out I have similar gut issues.

By following the guidelines, I lost 15 lbs. If I eat in a restaurant, I have to be careful of what I order, or I end up spending way too much time in the bathroom the following day. A cheese and pepperoni pizza with a pint of beer may be heaven to some and a great night out, but for me, it’s dietary hell and a morning spent trying to stay close to the loo.

For my training clients that are obese and who have had a long-term issue losing weight, I always recommend blood work for food allergies/sensitivities as a starting point. Almost one-third of the population struggles with weight, and the old go-to method of eating less and exercising more doesn’t seem to produce the desired result.

Sometimes you have to follow your gut to find solutions beyond simple calorie and calorie out calculations.

A recent study of weight loss in children who were obese examined the impact of prebiotics, and the results showed that the group given prebiotics lost significantly more weight than the control group. Another study of women who had bariatric surgery found significant changes to their gut tract bacteria, similar to the changes that result from taking probiotics in persons who did not have the surgery.

The study suggested that developing specific strains of probiotics may produce weight loss without the surgery – food for thought.


Ron Cain is the owner of Sooke Mobile Personal Training. Email him at or find him on Facebook at Sooke Personal Training.