Bone Broth and Weight Loss: What’s the Connection?

If you’re new to the world of bone broth, incorporating into your day to day may feel most natural when it’s cold outside.

After all, what better way to warm you up from the inside out?

And since so many are struggling to keep their weight in check during the holidays, there’s the added bonus that bone broth helps with losing those extra pounds.

But first, let’s set things straight: no, just adding a cup of bone broth to your daily regime, even if it’s homemade and of the most premium quality is not going to magically make you lose those extra pounds.

And as tremendous as its healing properties are, bone broth consumption will also not “cancel out” the effects of ingesting refined grains, white sugar and battered foods, deep fried in toxic canola or soybean oils, any more than swallowing a food-based multi vitamin will negate several weekly trips to MacDonalds.

However,  including daily bone broth in your regime, one based upon whole, real, fresh food, can absolutely aid in weight loss goals, a topic which, although certainly not specific to this festive holiday season, is certainly quite timely in the sense that oh so many Americans are attempting to balance weight loss with enjoying the festivities, without feeling deprived.

Here’s the deal: over 80% of Americans are estimated to have leaky gut (1); most simply put, a condition created by consuming things we cannot break down and assimilate.   

For many, leaky gut manifests in a plethora of seemingly mysterious health concerns, not necessarily always including or related to digestive issues.

Yet once this is put into play, it becomes far more difficult to digest and absorb nutrients in the real food we choose to eat, thus creating a situation of malnourishment which is not directly related to total caloric consumption as it might be in a case where ample calories are simply not available.

If you’ve been living in the US for the past several decades, chances are good to great that this applies to you.

If you do fall into this category and decide it’s time to make some changes and create health, you may do some research, learn about an authentic Paleo-based foundation to eating, learn how to balance your macros and do a darn good job at sticking to it… yet for some reason, even though on the surface it seems all is well, those pounds just aren’t coming off.

And while there are many reasons that could contribute to weight loss plateaus (not eating enough calories, having a macronutrient ratio that weighs too heavily on carbs… or proteins,  not getting ample sleep, to name a few), even if you have the most perfect diet yet you have leaky gut, you could very well end up over eating simply because your body is sensing that you’re not getting those essential nutrients in.

So what’s the answer?

Heal your gut!

The good news is that since the body is so resilient and able to rebuild from even the most extenuating circumstances, leaky gut can be reversed and what’s better is that the best way to do so is with food.

One might argue than an upside to the fact that very few doctors, unless we’re factoring in those who are trained in functional medicine, will even acknowledge leaky gut as a reality is that they’re similarly also less likely to suggest and prescribe ‘leaky gut medication’.

if you’re fortunate enough to have already connected with a functional medicine doc and he or she is overseeing your gut healing protocol, you’re most likely in good hands.

If not?   Take matters into your own hands, at least as the first step and see how much progress you can make as determined by the single most important measurement tool: how you feel on a daily basis.

Top Five Steps to Pave the Way for Weight Loss

1. Remove all potentially inflammatory foods:

  • grains, beans (don’t forget soy and peanuts)
  • dairy (some may be able to make an exception for 100% grass fed, organic, raw butter) 
  • and of course, sugar and anything containing any of the previous culprits

2.   Equally as important, replace the calories (up to a reasonable level based on your activity level, goal weight and height) with superior, more nutrient dense foods.  The goal is not to simply create a huge caloric deprivation and halt metabolism:

  • copious amounts of local, in season, organic plants, primarily veggies and within that category mostly leafy greens
  • adequate amounts of natural fats in order to get all types – monounsaturated, polyunsaturated as well as saturated (2)
  • moderate amounts of mindfully sourced proteins

3. Add gut healing foods:

  • Here’s where bone broth comes into the mix.   An excellent source of collagen, proline, glycine and glutamine that have the power to transform your health,  bone broth begins to lay the foundation to literally heal the gut and stop the leaking (3)!
  • Prebiotics.  We’ve all heard of taking probiotics but prebiotics, a special form of dietary fiber that acts as a “fertilizer” for the good bacteria in your gut also play a key role in gut healing and they’re all found naturally in the following foods:  asparagus, garlic, onion, dandelion greens, leeks and Jerusalem artichoke.

4. Increase sleep and physical activity

  • While it may sound like contradictory advice, but most people don’t get enough of either, both of which contribute significantly to inability to lose weight
  • Your health has to has to has to (yes, I meant to write that three times) be a top priority no matter how busy you are or how many hats you wear.   Calendar your sleep time, your shop time and your cook time each and every week.  It doesn’t have to equate to hours on end each day at the market and in the kitchen either; when time blocked properly, one can accomplish a tremendous amount in a very short period of time.   Then, set it in stone. Just you wouldn’t decide at the last minute to cancel a client meeting, equally don’t cancel on yourself, whether that’s a grocery store trip, a meal prep session or a spin class.  Your health and longevity are far too important to let these integral appointments fall by the wayside.

5. Set your realistic, reasonable goal and don’t forget to be intentional with including small pleasures and more importantly, do not categorize them as cheat foods, cheat meals or cheat days.  That word in and of itself is inherently negative and sets one up to feel they’ve done something bad or they are bad and consequently, the wheels come off.  Whether it’s a few pieces of premium dark chocolate (go for fair trade and 90% or higher), a neat spirit, for a holiday toast or freshly whipped coconut cream on top of a poached pear, these are but a few examples of incorporating balance into our daily regimes.

Weight loss is not rocket science… but it has grown into one of the most lucrative industries, to the tune of an estimated $66B as of 2017 (4), banked on your failure and the solution is not typically found in any of the quick fix plans or “interesting” diets out there.

The answer is a combination of learning, tuning in to your body and going back to a real food approach to heal the gut, subsequently healing the body and creating the foundation to optimal health, which includes achieving and then maintaining a healthy weight.

For some, this may be the all in one solution needed, and for others, step one of a long process including reaching out to functional medicine doctors as well as taking advantage of some of the incredible testing modalities we have available to us:  GI Map test, SIBO, DNA studies with genetic interpretation and hormone balance determined by saliva measurements.

In either case, the food first must be at the base of it; without a doubt, without a sound eating plan based on real, unadulterated food, a health plan built upon it is akin to a house with no foundation.