What Impact Does Our Gut Health Have On Our Weight?

gut health

Reviewed by: Erica An, APD, BNutr&Diet

Did you know that your gut is home to approximately 2 kilos of good bacteria? Trillions of microbes that play a pivotal role in digestion, immunity and even our mental health. Although nutritional science in this area is relatively new, leading experts agree that gut health and diversity in gut microbes is what will keep us at our healthy best.

In 2006, researchers from Washington University in the USA discovered that a lack of diversity in a gut microbiome could lead to obesity. This area of research was in mice, but it certainly made nutrition scientists take notice. The study found that certain microbes, called Firmicutes, are overly efficient at extracting calories/energy and increasing the absorption of fat in the body. And as you can probably guess, these mice were also efficient at gaining weight!


To have good gut health we need to have diversity in our gut, and therefore diversity in our diet.

My recommendations:

  1.     Eat a broad variety of plant foods – take a look at the colour on your plate. Is it varied? Do you buy the same fruit, vegetables and grains all the time? If so, mix it up!
  2.     Try including some fermented foods that contain good bacteria– yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir are great examples.
  3.     Eat high fibre snacks – nuts, wholegrain crackers with hummus, veggie sticks with guacamole, fresh/stewed/dried fruits
  4.     Eat lean, quality protein and, for diversity, try to include at least one vegetarian day each week (Meatless Monday)
  5.     Stay hydrated
  6.     Eat less prepackaged, refined and processed foods
  7.     Don’t forget to also move regularly, sleep soundly and pencil in some ME time! All key aspects of a healthy life.

By making some simple dietary changes and ensuring that there is variety in what you eat, you will reduce the likelihood of one dominant microbe in your gut. You’ll also be consuming great nourishment at the same time!


Lisa Donaldson, APD, M.Nutr&Diet, B.Edu
Lisa is the Lead Dietitian for 12WBT. With a Masters in Nutrition & Dietietics as well as a Bachelor of Education, Lisa is keen to help all 12 Weekers understand how to achieve health for life. Lisa studied Sports Dietetics at the Australian Institute of Sport and has a keen interest in gastrointestinal health. A highly regarded communicator, Lisa is a spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia, the ‘Dietitian in Residence’ at the University of Canberra and a lecturer at the Australian Defence Force Academy. She has also been an expert on ABC Television’s Ask the Dr Series.

    You may also like

    Comments are closed.

    More in Nutrition