A recent article by David Zinczenko, author of the book, Zero Belly Diet, addresses a number of specific foods that can help promote a leaner belly by decreasing inflammation, eliminating bloat, and turning off your fat storage genes. Zinczenko writes, in part: “Zero Belly is based on the breakthrough science of ‘nutritional genetics…’
In early 2014, I put together a panel to test-drive the Zero Belly program, and I’ve been stunned by the results: The average person lost four inches off their waist — in just six weeks. The key to this program is a scientifically proven eating program that targets your fat genes — turning them to ‘off’ and making weight loss automatic.
There’s no calorie counting, no deprivation. Zero Belly works in three ways:
1 First, it reduces bloating by cutting down on excess salt, dairy, and artificial sweeteners… Some of the test panelists lost up to three inches of bloat off their waist in just seven days.
2 Second, it heals your gut by feeding the ‘good’ microbes in your belly. A balanced gut reduces inflammation and helps to turn off your fat genes.
3 Third, it turbocharges your metabolism with lean protein, healthy fats, and quality fiber.” The nine foods, or groups of foods that Zinczenko recommends eating include: plant-based smoothies high in protein, healthy fat, fiber, and resveratrol; eggs (I recommend eating only organic, pastured or free-range eggs); red fruits, olive oil and other healthy fats; high-fiber foods; nuts and seeds; lean meat (again my recommendation is to stick with organic, grass-fed varieties); leafy greens and brightly-colored veggies, along with plenty of fresh herbs and spices.
As Zinczenko points out, reestablishing a healthy gut flora is very important, as imbalances can have a significant impact on your weight. One hypothesis states that your gut bacteria may in fact be in control of your appetite. Recent research5 suggests there’s a positive-feedback loop between the foods you crave and the composition of the microbiota in your gut that depend on those nutrients for their survival. Microbes that thrive on sugar, for example, can signal your brain to eat more sweets.
Other studies have shown that certain bacteria found in your gut can produce insulin resistance and weight gain by triggering chronic low-grade inflammation in your body. Food processing, pasteurization, and sterilization also have a detrimental effect on your microbiome.
For all of these reasons, and more, I always recommend a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods along with cultured or fermented foods.
Sadly weight gain at menopause is usually inevitable as the body stops producing oestrogen from the ovaries and switches it to the fat cells of the abdomen, hips and thighs.
In ‘Zero Belly program’ and also in Dr C W Randolf’s book ‘From Belly Fat to Belly Flat’ the link is clear between how progesterone supports thyroid function, and also acts as a diuretic. In this way it encourages weight loss due to the excretion of excess fluid from the body. Progesterone is also anti-inflammatory which can also be a factor in helping you to lose weight.
However quite a few factors can make this weight gain worse, and one of the most common is oestrogen dominance. You can see this if you have put on quite a few extra pounds or been on long-term HRT, particularly if it is oestrogen only.