Eat More to Weigh Less

Posted December 2023
Avo, cucumber, tofu & kimchi on Corn Thins slices

When it comes to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight you may think that you just need to eat less food. While this may the part of the strategy to promote a healthy weight, what you eat may be just as important as how much you eat.

A study investigated how much food your body took in as energy in two different styles of eating. The first was a traditional western diet which is known to be highly processed and high in added sugars, processed foods, saturated and trans fats, and low in fiber and whole foods. The second diet the researchers used was called the microbiome enhancer diet. This diet was made up of foods which provided good quantities of dietary fiber, resistant starch, were large food particle size, and contained limited amounts of processed foods.

The results supported the theory that what you eat matters in terms of the energy that your body takes in and what is excreted or used as fuel for your microbes. The microbiome enhancer diet caused larger amounts fecal matter being produced and consequently less energy from the diet taken in as fuel. It was calculated that an additional 116 kcal per day was lost in feces in the microbiome enhancer diet compared to the typical western diet.

Also, more health promoting microbes were found in the gut microbiome promoting diet. On the microbiome enhancer diet there was a greater amount of fermentation in the gut which was linked to a higher production of short chain fatty acids. These are compounds produced by the health promoting microbes in your gut which support the health of various parts and functions of your body. The specific types of short chain fatty acids produced in greater quantities on the microbiome enhancer diet was total amount of short chain fatty acids as well as acetate, butyrate, and propionate.

In contrast, the typical western diet led to the health promoting microbes being starved of their needed fuel. A higher amount of the energy from the foods were metabolized in the upper gastrointestinal tract and consequently more energy was taken into the body rather than being used by the microbes or excreted as feces.

So, what can you take from these findings? To be able to eat more while achieving and maintaining a healthy weight it is important to add foods which contain good amounts of dietary fiber and from mostly whole foods. This includes foods like nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, wholegrains, or wholegrain containing foods like Corn Thins slices, vegetables and fruits. Aim for each meal or snack to be made up of at least half plant-based foods and you know that you will be well on your way to promoting a happy gut microbiome.

Take home message: To achieve and maintain a healthy weight you do not need to suffer and starve yourself. The key could be to select food which helps to put the energy balance back on your side.



  1. Corbin, K.D., Carnero, E.A., Dirks, B. et al. Host-diet-gut microbiome interactions influence human energy balance: a randomized clinical trial. Nat Commun 14, 3161 (2023).



Ashleigh Felth…
Accredited Practising Dietitian
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