Gut Bacteria and Weight Loss

*This is a guest post. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not my own. 


We all know that eating healthy and regularly exercising can result in a much healthier lifestyle and will provide us with a lean, muscular physique – but is that all there is to the story? Well, researchers in China have been looking at how the bacteria in our body can impact our weight gain or weight loss. Even though cutting out calories and following a strict exercise regime has proven to be effective. When it comes to weight loss, the researchers think that the secret may be in our bacteria and that changing the type of bacteria in our body, could prove to be more effective than simply cutting calories and exercising.

There are many biological reasons for why the bacteria in our body may promote weight gain. Just one of these examples would be the bacteria known as enterobacteria – high levels of this could result in an insulin resistance, meaning that you wouldn’t feel full after eating just a standard meal, you may need double or even triple the amount in order to satisfy your hunger. Already we can see that the bacteria in our gut can play a big role in our body composition and can be a determining factor in whether we gain weight or lose weight. By taking this into account we should be able to further increase our chances of achieving our ideal physique and living a healthier lifestyle.

Calculating our caloric allowance and eating at a calorie deficit is the number one way to lose weight, but even if a person does this, their performance could still be limited. If the bacteria in their body are fighting against them – for example, if their body contained too many enterobacteria.


Scientists in Shanghai recently conducted a study on 93 obese people in order to test their thesis of gut bacteria affecting weight gain and weight loss. The scientists administered the volunteers with a stack of supplements that would promote the growth of certain types of bacteria and diminish the levels of the other bacteria which would limit their performance. They also accompanied this alongside a balanced diet. The participants of the study were weighed, measured, and required to fill out a survey about what food they had eaten in the previous 24 hours. The surveys were taken at 30-day, nine-week, and 23-week intervals.

Over just nine weeks, the participants of the trial lost 5kg (approximately 11lbs) on average. However, due to the nature of the study and the fact that the participants could not be monitored at all times – meaning that they could stray from their diet or do other things that could impact the result of the study. It’s not possible to come to an exact conclusion in regards to how much gut bacteria impacts our weight gain or weight loss. We can’t say that the amount of certain bacteria in our body is the result of our weight gain because there is a correlation, but correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation.

In the end, a healthy and balanced diet is a proven method if you’re looking to lose weight. Accompany this alongside a strict exercise regime, and you’ll be on your way to your ideal physique in a relatively short space of time. Gut bacteria may place an important role in our body composition, but there isn’t enough evidence to prove this just yet. So for now we will have to settle for the old method of diet and exercise.

Many people fail to lose weight using the standard method, and it’s usually because we are ill-informed and bombarded with ‘fads’ – routines and nutritional plans that promise great results. But never live up to their expectations – however, we can lose weight by looking at the problem objectively and by not making excuses. Firstly you will need a healthy and balanced diet, you can work this out by first calculating your Total Energy Expenditure (TEE). If you want to lose weight, eat below this, if you want to gain weight then eat this number. As far as exercise goes, it doesn’t really matter what you do in the gym if you’re new to fitness, as long as you get in there and do something you will see great results.



1) Turnbaugh, Peter J.; Ley, Ruth E.; Mahowald, Michael A.; Magrini, Vincent; Mardis, Elaine R.; Gordon, Jeffrey I. (2006). “An obesity-associated gut microbiome with increased capacity for energy harvest”

2) http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/news/20140820/your-gut-bacteria

3) https://www.consumerhealthdigest.com/weight-loss/

Author Bio:

Stevan McGrath loves to explore the world through traveling and thrilling getaways that adventure lovers may dream of exploring. His writing domain revolves around topics like health and fitness, wearable technologies, product reviews, skincare science etc. He is a contributing writer to various other websites since 2011. His articles are well-researched and published on several websites. You can follow him on TwitterFacebook and Google+ for daily inspiration.

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Join Gorton’s and Spark People’s 30 Day “Realistic Resolution” Challenge



It’s a brand new year. Chances are you might have set some goals or resolutions for 2015. Most people set out to make positive changes in the new year.

I don’t believe in resolutions, but I do try and set realistic goals for myself. I also break my goals down into monthly goals rather than a big yearly goal because I think it’s more manageable that way.

Loosing weight, eating healthy and exercising more are popular goals/resolutions for many people. I’m one of them. Every year I say to myself “This is the year I FINALLY lose weight.”

I’ve been obese pretty much all my life. I’ve done every diet imaginable. I have found that most are just “quick fixes” and as soon as I go off them I gain the weight back – and more.

The ONLY way to lose weight and keep it off is to change the way you eat. There is no “magic pill” – only quick fixes. If you want the weight to come off – and stay off – you need to eat healthy, drink plenty of water, get your beauty sleep and of course exercise.

You DON’T have to give up all your favorite foods. Everything is “OK” in moderation and if you allot for it. For example, you can have your grandma’s chocolate chip cookies – just don’t eat five of them. One or two is sufficient. And if you opt for those cookies, make an effort to squeeze in a little more exercise to make up for it. That can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator or parking your car in the back of the parking lot at the store instead of looking for a spot right in front of the door.

You don’t need diet pills, diet foods or $$$ gym memberships. You just need to approach weight loss realistically.

Have you heard of SparkPeople.com? Spark People is an online weight loss community that can provide you with support, inspiration, recipes and more. Best of all it’s free to join.

Spark People Challenge

To help kick off the new year, Spark People has created the 30 day Realistic Resolutions Challenge.  The challenge includes four weeks of meal plans, 30 mini challenges and even support on social media. Simply use or search for the official hashtag #RealisticResolution (Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest). You can learn and get inspiration from others, as well as share your tips and tricks with others. You can even get daily emails sent to you if you are interested in that option.

One food that is great to enjoy when you are on a healthy eating plan is fish. I love fish! I would eat fish every day if it was possible. My husband only likes canned tuna and my son will only eat canned tuna and fish sticks. My daughter, thankfully, enjoys a variety of fish. In fact she eats fish several times a week, mostly for lunch or if I made a dinner she doesn’t like. Her favorite is Gorton’s Salmon.

Gorton’s has a variety of better for you options including baked and grilled fish. The fish is quick and easy to make (either pop it in the oven or microwave). It also tastes great.

I have purchased other fish products and often the fish tastes less than palatable. We’ve even thrown away fish I’ve purchased because it either tastes like it’s been sitting in a freezer for years or it has no taste. With Gorton’s I know we’ll be enjoying fresh tasting, flavorful fish.

I grew up on Gorton’s. Like my son I loved (and still do) fish sticks. I only remember my mom buying Gorton’s.

Gorton’s sent me a wonderful package to help me start off the new  year eating right. The package included some product coupons, an exercise DVD, insulated bag (to carry home my Gorton’s products in) and two books – The Spark Story (an inspirational look behind Spark People) and an awesome Spark People cookbook.

My daughter was especially excited to have the product coupons, because like I mentioned earlier, she eats fish several times a week for lunch.


Gorton’s offers consumers forteen perfectly portioned, protein packed products – three of which are Gluten free!

Check out some of their varieties including Simply Bake Tilapia, Haddock and Salmon.

Did you know that fish provides your body with heart healthy Omega-3.

If you are looking to start off the new year eating healthy and taking care of YOU, you should join the 30 Day Realistic Resolution Challenge. What’s more, Gorton’s fans can participate in the Gorton’s “Eat Smarter” Sweepstakes for a change to win a $500 weekly prize or the $5,000 grand prize.

For more information about Gorton’s visit Gortons.com. You can also find the brand on social media (all links are found on their home page).

For more information about Spark People visit SparkPeople.com. I am not sure if they have a social media presence.

Do you plan on joining the 30 Day Realistic Resolution Challenge?

What is YOUR favorite Gorton’s product?

What tips/tricks do you have for losing weight?

Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.



*I received a free “kit” in exchange for my participation. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Fed Up – A food documentary that the food industry doesn’t want you to see in theaters and on VOD today (May 9, 2014)

Fed Up Movie Poster

I have to admit that I enjoy watching documentaries. They are a wonderful way to learn about things you might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn about. I also find them very “eye opening”.

Many times when I watch a documentary I end up with strong feelings – angry, sad, scared or happy. Especially after watching ones that expose what goes on “behind the scenes” that many people don’t know about or are blissfully unaware of.

I recently had the opportunity to screen the documentary Fed Up. It will be shown in select theaters and on VOD (Video on Demand) TODAY (May 9, 2014).

For the past 30 years, everything we thought we knew about food and exercise is dead wrong. FED UP is the film the food industry doesn’t want you to see. From Katie Couric, Laurie David (Oscar winning producer of An Inconvenient Truth) and director Stephanie Soechtig, FED UP will change the way you eat forever.

Wow. Simply WOW! I learned A LOT from watching this film.

While it is important to eat healthy and exercise it is NOT the #1 thing you should be taking into consideration – it’s sugar.

The number of Type II Diabetes has skyrocketed over the past 30 years. More and more children are developing this diasese than every before. Type II Diabetes was mostly seen as something that effects adults. These days it’s almost effecting more children then adults.

Today’s generation could possibly live SHORTER lives than their parents.

Why is this happening? One word – sugar.

Today people around the world consume sugar more than ever before. It’s in almost everything we eat and drink (except all-natural products) and it comes in various forms.

Even foods that are supposedly “better for you” like low-fat products are actually WORSE then their regular counter parts. In order to make low fat or reduced fat products taste better they add sugar. So you might be saving a few grams of fat here and there you are actually consuming MORE sugar than your body can deal with.

When your body is fed to much sugar your liver has to work overtime to process it. The easiest thing for it to do is turn it into fat. If you eat so much sugar your pancreas has to release insulin to help deal with it. Insulin also turns the sugar into fat.

Fed Up

There are approximately 4.2 grams in every teaspoon of sugar. The World Health Organization recommends no more than 6-8 teaspoons of sugar per day (24-32 grams per day maximum). I believe the film said that is equal to 5% of your daily totals. Due to politics and government bullies that was changed to allowing you to have 25% of your daily dietary intake as being sugar. That is a HUGE difference.

Go to your pantry right now and grab any food product (soup, cereal, cookies…) and look at the nutrition facts. You’ll notice that there are NO PERCENTAGES listed next to sugar like there are other things (fat, cholesterol…). That is because the big companies and government people who regulate this kind of stuff DOESN’T want you to know the real percentage of sugar you are ingesting when you eat those products.

In the film they showed a typical diet for one day (pancakes, orange juice, PB&J sandwich, spaghetti with sauce…). The meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) were things that most people might eat during the day. The sugar came to well over 40+ teaspoons! Not the 6-8 that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends. It’s no wonder their is an obesity and diabetes epidemic, not only in this country but around the world.

Processed foods (those with the most sugars) are cheap so people purchase them over healthy, natural foods. School budgets have been cut so much that all they can afford is junk foods to serve students. Some schools even rely on meals from Taco Bell and other fast food places to serve lunch to kids. What kid is going to pass up on a slice of Pappa John’s pizza and opt for a garden salad with grilled chicken instead?


When I was in school the lunch people made the meals. Now they serve processed, pre-made, frozen meals. Yuck! I’m grateful my kids bring lunch.

The documentary highlights several teenagers with weight issues. They are doing the right thing (eating low fat foods, excercising…) but remain overweight. That is because those “reduced fat” foods and the foods they are served at school are loaded with sugars.

Even Michelle Obamas “Get Moving” campaign was discussed in the film and how she emphasizes moving over eating healthy. That is because she cannot risk ticking off the powerful food companies by emphasizing that kids need to eat natural foods and not processed foods.

I also learned from the documentary that you shouldn’t eat foods with more than five ingredients because it’s not healthy for you. I took that to heart and recently looked at the label on some chicken that I served my son for lunch one day. The chicken had only four ingredients – which I was thrilled about – BUT – the bread crumbs (coating) had about 20+ ingredients. And it was just bread crumbs! UGH!!!!

Now when I shop for foods I am cautious of the label. I read the grams of sugar and take them to heart. I am also looking to replace foods we normally buy with those that are made with less ingredietns, are more natural and contain less sugar.

If you would like to learn more look for Fed Up at a theater near you or on Video on Demand services. You can also visit www.FedUpMovie.com. The film can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Here is the film’s trailer.



*I viewed an online screener in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Harley Pasternak’s Fitness Tips for Busy Parents #StreamTeam



Finding time to go to the gym is not always possible for most people. Our condo complex has a gym which is free for residents, so budget is not an issue for me. It’s the lack of time that keeps me from going. There are simply not enough time in the day. I’m also not a fan of going to the gym either (I feel too subconscious).

Aside from walking the only exercise I do is in the comfort of my own home. I have plenty of DVDs and books, as well as things like hand weights, a hula hoop and a few other small pieces of equipment to work with.

Netflix Stream Team celebrity fitness expert, Harley Pasternak, has some great REALISTIC fitness tips for busy people. Harley works out with some of Hollywood’s busiest parents like Jennifer Hudson and Megan Fox.

Did you know that research shows that working out while watching your favorite television shows helps you to exercise for longer period of times? I totally believe that. I find that when I am watching something enjoyable (a favorite show or movie) I lose myself in what I am watching and I don’t put as much emphasis on the exercise that I dread.

I wish we had a treadmill. That is what I am hoping to afford someday. I know if we had a treadmill I could walk for miles on it while watching TV.

Netflix has plenty of great series and awesome movies to keep me entertained while I exercise. Now if only I had a treadmill. :-)

Here are some tips from Harley Pasternak to help you get some exercise into your busy life.

1. Resist: Even the busiest mom or dad can carve out at least 5 minutes to do some resistance “sculpting” exercise. Pick one exercise
a day (i.e. lunge, squats, superman) and do 3-4 sets of 20 reps. Over time, add some weight and increase the sets.

2. Walk: You shouldn’t stop moving from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed. Use an activity monitor like a Fitbit to make sure you walk at least 10,000 steps a day. Make your phone calls as you walk around the block, park your car a little further away, take the stairs, and walk to your favorite cafe in the morning (instead of brewing your own).

3. Blend: Soups and smoothies are the perfect “on the go” meals that take only seconds to prepare. They’re a great way to get all your veggies, fruits, healthy fats and lean protein in one meal.

4. Be Entertained… But Not on the Couch: I tell all my busy parents to make sure they’re moving while watching their favorite show. Whether it be “Breaking Bad” or “House of Cards,” stream your show to your phone or tablet with Netflix and you may end up working out longer and harder!

5. Sleep: One of the most common complaints I get from parents is they are exhausted! It’s so important to get at least 7 hours of sleep a
night. Parents — make sure there is no light at all in your bedroom. That means no cell phones flickering, televisions blaring or alarm clocks flashing. Studies show even the smallest amount of light can disturb your sleep patterns. Other sleep tips include avoiding caffeine after noon, wearing an eye mask and avoiding surfing the web before you fall asleep.

Want more fitness inspiration? Take a peek at our list of shows to watch while you walk. The full list is available here.


*I have partnered with Netflix who provided the information/sources.   The  opinions expressed are my own unless otherwise noted.

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Kids (and Adults) – Get Fit with Your Friends from Free Birds and TV’s Toughest Trainer Chris Powell #FreeBirds


Free Birds

Exercise is not always high on a child’s priority list. It falls somewhere behind pizza, video games, television and fuzzy slippers.

If you have seen the film Free Birds you’ll know that the character of Reggie was a bit on the “unfit” side, unlike his friend Jake who was big and strong.

Fox Home Entertainment asked trainer and host of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition for some tips to help your child, or grandchild, how to get moving and eat healthier. Parents and grandparents can utilize these great tips too.

FYI… Free Birds will be available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download on February 4, 2014.

Tip #1: Eat Breakfast. 

Mom is right, it really IS the most important meal of the day!  Eat something hearty that’s going to give you a lot of energy, like
eggs and toast, or yogurt and granola. Start the day strong.

Tip#2: Get to school at least 15 minutes early for recess.

Run, jump, climb, and play your favorite sports. You’ll get some extra time with your friends, you’ll get stronger and faster, and you’ll supercharge your body and mind for learning.

Tip #3: Eat fruit every chance you get.

Fruit is nature’s dessert, and comes in all kinds of fun flavors. You can never go wrong with classics like apples, oranges, bananas, pears, grapes and pineapple. But also try exploring new and crazy fruits, like starfruit or kiwi, grapples or mangoes.

Tip#4: Cut the soda.

Any way you look at it, it’s just not good for you. If you crave sweet beverages, try naturally sweetened waters. There are all kinds of new flavorings for water coming out with natural sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit – find one that you love, and hydrate.

Tip #5: Be a lean and mean gamer. 

When you’re done with your homework, instead of vegging out on the couch with your PS4 or Xbox 1, get up and try playing one of their MANY active games. Get off the couch and LIVE the game. Run, jump, balance, shoot…get involved in your video games and get fit in the



*I was not compensated for this post. I am sharing these great tips for the benefit of my site readers.

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Make Wellness a Part of Your 2014 Health Goals



We’re more than half way through the first month of 2014. How are you doing with your resolutions or goals? Are you still sticking with them or are you finding that you are starting to wane a bit?

Did any of your 2014 goals involve your health? Most people strive to do better in the new year when it comes to eating right and exercising. I know that is always a goal of mine each and every year. I can usually do well until the Summer months. Then I tend to dive into unhealthy eating and lack of exercise. I would rather stay inside with the AC cranked at maximum levels rather than go outside.

Making better for you eating and snacking options doesn’t have to be bland and boring. You can find great snack options right in your neighborhood Rite Aid store.

Rite Aid has a product line called available in most stores called Wholesome Goodness. You can find the products in the grocery section of the Rite Aid store.

Rite Aid feels that great tasting foods can be a better-for-you choice without breaking your budget.

Wholesome Goodness products include snacks, beverages, sauces, soups and more. I’ve been snacking on Wholesome Goodness Apple Cinnamon Omega Granola Bars. They are also available in Cranberry. They are totally delicious! One bar is only 120 calories and contain both Omega- 3 & 6 and 6g of whole grains. They are also low in sodium and are Trans Fat & Cholesterol Free.


My kids love granola bars, both for their school lunches and an afternoon snack. Unlike other granola bars the Wholesome Goodness Apple Cinnamon taste like they are homemade. I think that is what I enjoyed most about them.

Another snack treat I had the opportunity to try out is the Wholesome Goodness Mountain Trail Mix. The individually packaged trial mix is a good source of Fiber and Protein and makes a satisfying snack. It satisfied my desire for both sweet and salty. The mix contains raisins, peanuts, almonds, sunflower kernels and my favorite – Dark Chocolate!

Because they are individually packaged they make great on-the-go snacks. Keep one in your car, work desk, purse or backpack to fill you up until your next meal and to help keep you from heading off to the nearest vending machine. The next time I go to Rite Aid I’m getting a whole box for my husband to keep at work.

To learn more about Wholesome Goodness at Rite Aid visit www.Wholesome-Goodness.com/RiteAid.

Best of all the Wholesome Goodness branded products are affordable and budge friendly.

Speaking of budget friendly, Rite Aid have a product line available called Renewal. Their Renewal Makeup Removing Toilettes are awesome. My teenage daughter uses them to remove her mascara, eyeliner and facial makeup. They also have available calming toilettes and cleansing ones that detoxify your skin and removes oil.


You can get a package of 10 Renewal Makeup Removing Toilettes for around $1.69. They come in a small package that is easy to toss into your purse or gym bag. My daughter keeps them in her backpack so she can remove her makeup before swimming or freshen up her face if she gets overheated and sweaty during gym.

Oh the gym. I remember gym classes at school. They used to be so boring. Personally I think schools should offer self defense classes in gym rather than silly things like jogging around the gym or puttering around on a scooter.

We have a gym in our condo complex. My kids use it a few times per week. Not me. I’m embarrassed to work out in front of other people due to my weight. I prefer to work out at home.

I wish we could have a treadmill but our condo is not big enough for one. Instead I have to rely on video tapes and small work out equipment.


Rite Aid has several pieces of work out equipment and other health related products by Denise Austin. The line is called Forever Fit by Denise Austin. The line includes weights, fitness balls, resistance bands and balance board to name a few.

We have the Forever Fit by Denise Austin resistance tube (it’s more like a resistance band). Me, my daughter and my son all use them. Not only can you get a great workout with them but they take up very little room. Living in a condo we are limited in space. The resistance bands fold up and can be tucked into a drawer, under the bed or hang them up in the closet. They are also great for men and women, young and old.

You don’t have to go from store to store to find your wellness needs. A visit to your neighborhood Rite Aid can yield many of the products you need to stay healthy and happy, without “breaking the bank”.

Don’t forget to check out the Rite Aid Rewards Program too for additional savings and so much more!



*As a Rite Aid Brand Ambassador I received free product samples. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.


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