Your gut bacteria may be to blame for your food cravings
An interesting article appeared in The Atlantic titled “Your gut bacteria want you to eat a cupcake”, which illustrates this point nicely.
The types of bugs living in your gut can heavily influence your food choices. We each have at least 10 000 different species of microbes living in our digestive tract. The bacteria is there for very important reasons; it helps us extract nutrients from our foods, synthesizes vitamins and reduces the risk of parasitic gut infections, among other functions. The bacteria benefit from living inside us by feeding off our food remains.
We each have a slightly different composition of gut bugs inside our intestines, and their food preferences vary. Your dominant gut bugs will have the greatest influence over your physiology and food preferences. Researchers have found that intestinal bacteria can affect your food choices in several ways:
- They can change the expression of your taste receptors, causing certain foods to taste better.
- They can cause the release of hunger-inducing hormones.
- They can manipulate the vagus nerve (which connects your stomach to your brain) to control your eating behavior.
Fascinating isn’t it? Fortunately you have a lot of control over what types of bacteria grow inside your digestive tract. Studies have shown that consuming more vegetables and probiotics skews the balance of gut bugs in a favorable way; promoting the growth of bugs that make you crave healthy foods.