How the trendy (and unhealthy) Dad Bod is connected to your gut microbiome health
The relaxed and comfortable look of the "Dad Bod" has been a trend for men since the emergence of the original Dad Bod blog article in 2015. It was a fascinating opposition to the usually ideal fit male body type with six-pack abs.
While both trends in male body types still endure, there has recently been a backlash against promoting a physical look that can be highly unhealthy for men, and all the dads out there who sport the look.
Belly fat, one of the main features of a Dad Bod, is traditionally medically handled with a restrictive diet and vigorous exercise. But studies have shown that just diet and exercise alone are not enough. It turns out attention must also be given to your gut microbiome health.
What are the health risks of having a Dad Bod?
Carrying excess fat around your belly (known medically as "visceral fat" as it surrounds your organs) is an unhealthy body condition for any person.
Possible health risks for those who hold weight around the belly include:
Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
Asthma and compromised lung function
Even people that are a healthy weight, yet have concentrated fat in the belly area, can have elevated risk for the health issues above.
How does belly fat develop over time?
Gaining weight is usually the product of excess calorie consumption. You eat more calories than your body can burn during a day. The unused calories turn to fat.
Excess calories that come from specific foods are also problematic. Some food and other items that significantly contribute to weight gain are:
Added sugars and high fructose corn syrup especially sugary drinks (drinking your calories does not affect your feeling of satiety and contributes to more calorie consumption)
Alcohol consumption in moderation shouldn't contribute to belly fat, but studies have connected alcohol to the development of weight gain at the belly and waistline. 1
Trans fats are made by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats to stabilize them. This process makes food last longer on shelves in the store and your pantry. Trans fats have been shown in studies to cause or increase systemic inflammation, risks for heart disease, and contribute to weight gain.
Low or no exercise
With 40+ hour jobs in front of a computer, commuting time, all-consuming social media, and endless entertainment streaming opportunities, many Americans lead a sedentary life with little to no physical exercise which leads to poor health, and can also contribute to belly fat accumulation.
Your gut microbiome is responsible for carrying out essential tasks that help keep you healthy. Gut Dysbiosis is a condition where your microbiome has a higher amount of certain microbes, causing imbalance which can influence many areas of your health: sleep, weight, digestive efficiency, energy, immunity, and more. Safe to say that supporting your gut health is essential for a healthy body and lifestyle.
But—how is belly fat connected to dysbiosis and your gut health?
Studies are showing the impact of your gut microbiome on belly fat, and may have a more significant contribution on belly fat than your diet alone:
"Both gut microbiota and diet have been shown to impact visceral fat mass (VFM), a major risk factor for cardiometabolic disease." 2
While all people share 99.9% of the same human DNA, the makeup of our gut microbiomes as individuals is unique, depending on health and lifestyle factors as well as early life experiences. Studies have shown that there are often very distinct differences in the makeup of gut microbiomes of people who are fit and healthy, versus those who are inactive and obese. As the gut microbiome becomes less diverse in types and functions of microbes, the more likely someone may have excess visceral belly fat.
One difference can be the levels of microbes that digest dietary fiber in order to produce a substance called butyrate. Those who are obese, or with other dietary disorders like type 2 diabetes usually have lower amounts of these microbes, and therefore less butyrate, in their gut.
Butyrate is a fatty acid that helps protect the thin lining on the inside of your gut, fight inflammation, and prevent “leaky gut syndrome.” Butyrate also stimulates leptin, the “satiety hormone,” that helps signal your brain you are full. When butyrate is low, you may not get those important signals, leading to overeating and weight gain.
What can you do about that Dad Bod?
Healthier dieting and regular exercise are both helpful in reducing the amount of belly fat at your mid-section.
But, diet and exercise alone are simply not enough to correct the dadbod gut. A specifically personalized diet to ensure the diversity of the gut microbiome is essential, along with a generally healthy diet, and regular exercise as directed by your doctor.
Nutritionists around the world tout many healthy, natural foods as being the cure-all to gut dysbiosis. But, how do you actually know if a particular "healthy food" is healthy for you and will support a healthy microbiome unless you measure the microbes and their activities within your gut?
And that's where Viome comes in. We offer services to accurately measure the amounts of different microbes in your gut and their activity. You get these results delivered with a precise nutrition action plan for you to embark on, with four separate lists of foods (Superfoods, Enjoy, Minimize and Avoid) recommended only for you. Your food lists, along with your recommended supplements, can help you rebalance your gut microbiome, and get you on your journey to improved health.
Learn more about our health services and their benefits here, and order yours today.
The information on the Viome website is provided for informational purposes only and with the understanding that Viome is not engaged in rendering medical advice or recommendations. Viome is providing this educational information to share the exciting developments being reported in the scientific literature about the human microbiome and your health. Viome products are not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease.