Not long ago, scientists realized that “trillions of bacteria living in our guts have a surprising effect on our weight,” according to Dr. Oz. Turns out, lean folks have special types of bacteria that triggers healthy cravings, reduce calorie absorption, boost metabolism, and more. The rest of us, however, have have types of bacteria that tend to promote weight gain. Suspect your bacteria is the fattening kind? Dr. Oz’s latest discovery could change that in as little as three days.
“People can’t stop talking about this,” Dr. Oz recently revealed. “It’s called the Hadza Diet.” The gist is that you mimic the eating habits of Africa’s Hadza tribe— a group that top researchers say boasts the absolute best gut bacteria any of them has ever seen— and you can improve your own gut bacteria by 20 percent within the first 72 hours. As you boost your bacteria, you’ll find you lose weight far more easily — and end up far healthier, too.
Experts say they’ve been shocked to learn what a dramatic difference Hazda-style eating can make in an extremely short time frame. "This diet hit us from left field!" Dr. Oz declared.
Improving Gut Bacteria for Weight Loss: The Hazda's Diet No. 1 Secret
So how did the Hadza people, who hunt and gather on the Serengeti Plains of Tanzania, end up with bacteria we should all want? In large part it's because they eat enough fruit, root vegetables, and seeds to reach “a stunning 100 grams of fiber per day,” notes Butch Rosser, M.D., Dr. Oz’s go-to Hadza authority. Of course, 100 grams isn’t realistic for most of us, yet the Hadza findings help explain why more practical fiber-packed approaches work so well. On the internet, high-fiber dieters even report shedding up to nine pounds in three days. But can fiber help you lose that much? Here’s how to find out.
How to Improve Gut Bacteria for Weight Loss
What you eat: An average woman currently gets nine to 11grams of fiber daily. Although some women can go as high as 40 grams right away, “I think 25 grams is a reasonable goal,” Dr. Oz said. The key is replacing a lot of the low-fiber foods you eat — especially added sugar and processed carbs — with fiber-rich options. You can follow any fiber-rich diet you like or use the menus below. But no matter which plan you choose, Dr. Oz wants you to make room for two tablespoons of seeds, lots of beans (which can replace low fiber carbs and also be swapped in for meat), and “four cups of fruit and veggies a day.” If it sounds like a lot of food, it is. “The diet is super-sized,” Dr. Oz noted. Yet you’ll lose weight— and quickly!
How Fiber Turbocharges “Skinny Bacteria”
Dr. Oz says that in simplest terms, fiber — which is any type of roughage from plants that our bodies can’t break down — acts as food for bacteria that have slimming benefits. (By contrast, fatty meats and processed carbs feed bacteria that spur weight gain.) The more fiber you eat, the more good bacteria multiply and diversify — and the more benefits you’ll see.
You probably already know that fiber helps fill our bellies for zero calories, so we eat less without trying. But, there's more. Fiber basically gets in the way as our bodies try to digest other food, "slowing down the whole process. This prevents blood sugar spikes and helps keep you feeling full a long time," notes Tanya Zuckerbrot, R.D., whose F-Factor Diet comes pretty close to the actual Hadza Diet, encouraging women to work up to 40, 50, even 60 grams of fiber daily. “Fiber also prevents some calories from being absorbed.” Yet another benefit: “By making the digestive system work harder, fiber boosts metabolism.” Zuckerbrot says she’s used fiber to help women speed off up to 110 pounds.
Good bacteria not only helps with weight control, says Dr. Rosser, but can also help reduce inflammation in our bodies, which is a factor that fights everything from colds and flu to depression and heart disease.
Gut Bacteria and Weight Loss: A Success Story
Clarice Jones used fiber-rich smoothies (like the ones in our meal plan) to increase her fruit and vegetable intake from one or two servings a day to 14 or 15 — quadrupling her fiber intake. “You can sneak a lot of berries and spinach into smoothies that are really tasty,” promises the Detroit mom, 36. And sneaking in fiber pays off. “I lost 18 pounds in my first 10 days and 130 pounds in 18 months!”
Meanwhile, F-Factor dieter Tori Brun had fun loading bran crisp breads (with 4 grams of fiber each!) with cream cheese, lox, even pizza toppings. “[You should] have lots of fiber and water at meals, and you’re so full, you don’t have to worry about overeating,” says the Connecticut mom, 48, who's down 38 pounds. “You can lose weight as you live a really enjoyable life!”
How Fiber Turbocharges Health
Getting extra fiber can help you:
Safeguard your heart! For every seven grams of fiber you eat daily, your risk of developing heart disease drops by nine percent. Scientists believe fiber absorbs excess cholesterol before it can damage arteries.
Slash diabetes risk! Eating 26 or more grams of fiber daily reduces odds of Type 2 diabetes by 18 percent. The credit goes to fiber’s ability to keep blood sugar steady.
Prevent colon cancer! Every 10 grams of fiber you eat daily cuts risk of colon cancer 10 percent — in part because fiber keeps you regular, so toxic waste doesn’t linger in your digestive tract!
Gut Bacteria Weight Loss Diet Menu
With help from fiber experts, our nutrition team created these menus that, depending on your picks, deliver 25 to 60 grams of fiber daily. While using them, be sure to sip at least one liter of water for every 10 grams of fiber consumed, because too much fiber and too little fluid can cause severe constipation. Zuckerbrot adds that some women need to slowly increase fiber intake by 5 grams or so every few days to avoid tummy discomfort. You should experiment to see what works for your body. You can add any healthy beverages or extras you like, such as coffee, tea, herbs, spices, and vinegar. Remember to always get a doctor’s OK to try any new plan.
Choose one daily:
Option 1: Banana in a Sweater: In a small bowl, mix 1 teaspoon of maple syrup or honey with 2 tablespoons of nut butter. In a separate bowl, mix 1 tablespoons of oats, 1/2 tablespoon of chia seeds, 1/2 tablespoon of ground flaxseed and 1/4 teaspoon of cocoa powder. Dip halves of a peeled banana in the nut mixture, then the dry mixture —and enjoy! (Fiber grams: 12)
Option Two: Mega Fiber Smoothie: In a blender, blitz one avocado, 2 cups of fresh baby spinach, 2 of cups mixed berries, 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed, 1 1/2 cups of water, and 1 packet Stevia (optional) until smooth. If desired, divide into two servings. (Fiber grams: 15-30)
Option Three: Use 1 cup of Cheerios (3 grams of fiber), old-fashioned oatmeal (4 grams of fiber), or Raisin Bran (7 grams of fiber) or 1/2 cup of Fiber One (14 grams) with 1/2 cup of regular or unsweetened plant-based milk. Add in 1 banana (3 grams of fiber) or one pear (6 grams of fiber) or 1 cup raspberries (8 grams of fiber) with 1 ounce of walnuts (2 grams of fiber) or 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed (3 grams of fiber). (Fiber grams: seven to 25)
Lunch and Dinner
Choose an option at each sitting:
Option One: Green Apple Smoothie: _In a blender, blitz 1 cup of romaine lettuce and 1 cup of baby spinach, 1 chopped apple, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, 1/2 cup if unsweetened nut milk, 1 scoop of protein powder, and water to achieve desired consistency. (Fiber grams: 12)
Option Two: Warm up 2 cups of fiber-rich soup, such as Campbell’s Well Yes! Braised Beef and Black Barley (8 grams of fiber) or Amy’s Organic Lentil (12 grams of fiber). Enjoy with 1 apple (4 grams of fiber) or 1 orange (3 grams of fiber).
Option Three: Mix at least 3 cups of mixed greens and sliced veggies, 1/4 cup of dried cranberries, 1/4 cup of crumbled goat cheese, 1/8 of cup walnut halves and 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette. Top the salad with grilled chicken, salmon, or warmed beans (for an extra 6 grams of fiber per half cup). (Fiber grams: about 9)
Option Four: Mediterranean Bean Salad: Drain and rinse white beans from one 15-ounce can and toss with 4 ounces shredded cooked chicken, 2 ounces of crumbled feta, 1 bunch of chopped parsley, 1 pint of halved grape tomatoes, 4 teaspoons of minced garlic, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. This makes two servings.
Enjoy as needed to control hunger.
Option One: One apple or pear with 1 tablespoon of nut butter. ( Fiber grams: 4 to 6)
*Option Two: * 1 cup of baby carrots (7 grams of fiber) or celery (2 grams of fiber), or 3 pieces high-fiber crisp bread (12 grams of fiber) with 2 tablespoons of bean dip, hummus, or guacamole (3 to 4 grams of fiber). (Fiber grams: 5 to 16)
Option Three: 1/2 cup of shelled edamame. (Fiber grams: 9)
Option Four: One high fiber bar such as Fiber One Oats & Chocolate. (Fiber grams: 9)
Make Your Own Menus
A good basic meal while losing weight includes a serving of lean protein, at least two servings of fiber-rich fruit and or vegetables, a serving of healthy fat, and an optional serving of a fiber-rich starch such as beans, peas, sweet potato, or brown rice. You should make it a goal to get at least seven grams of fiber per meal and another four grams in a couple of light fiber-rich snacks. Keep in mind that getting at least one green smoothie a day — made with any healthy ingredients you like —is perhaps the easiest way to keep fiber intake up.
Tip: Not losing weight as quickly as you’d like? Experts we spoke to suggest cutting back a bit on portions of starchy carbs until you’re losing at least two pounds a week.
Next, learn which foods can help you banish bloating in the video below: