By: Tayler Glenn
As you might gather from the name, digestive enzymes help your body break down and digest food. While many of us add enzymes as supplements to our diets in order to relieve bloating and indigestion, some may be asking “can digestive enzymes aid weight loss”? So many supplements come with claims regarding optimal health or weight loss that we don’t blame you for asking! We’ve got your answers below.
Despite the fact that the enzyme market is growing at a rate faster than the supplement industry as a whole, there are still quite a few who don’t really understand just what they do and how digestive enzymes aid weight loss. The answer to this question is a little complicated, but we’ll break it down for you!
What Are Digestive Enzymes?
First things first – enzymes are proteins produced by our bodies that are made up of amino acids. They are powerful catalysts, responsible for every chemical reaction that goes on in our body from our muscles and bones down to tissues and cells.
There are two types of enzymes in the body: digestive, which help us utilize the nutrients in foods; and metabolic, which are responsible for bodily reactions such as energy production and detoxification. Since we’re here to focus on digestive enzymes, here’s a quick breakdown:
- Proteases: aids in digesting protein
- Amylases: aids in digesting carbohydrates
- Lipases: aids in digesting fats
How Digestive Enzymes Aid Weight Loss
Now that you understand how enzymes work, we can address the question of digestive enzymes and weight loss! The fact is, enzymes are not a magic bullet for weight loss because a magic weight loss bullet simply doesn’t exist! However, they can help in a few ways:
Like we mentioned before, digestive enzymes are key players in optimal digestion. This process of getting nutrients from our food is a tedious one for our bodies. It needs energy to perform these tasks well, but we get much of that energy from food. If digestion is sluggish and our bodies aren’t receiving those nutrients, it creates an unhealthy cycle that leads to poorly nourished cells and tissues, waste build-up, and water retention. Usually, this cycle starts with unhealthy eating habits such as eating:
- Processed foods
- Refined sugars
- Sugar alcohols
- Fast food
Essentially, your healthy diet has a direct relationship to your healthy body weight. Avoiding inflammatory, fat-fueling foods like sugar and hydrogenated oils not only helps reduce inflammation and poor absorption, but it allows our bodies to generate the energy we need to do things such as exercise and stay active!
Keeping You Regular
Did you know that incomplete digestion can be one of the leading causes of weight gain? The result is inflammation, nutrient deficiencies, bloating, gas, and constipation — all culprits in weight gain and a slowing metabolism. If you’ve ever completed a TLS Detox, you know how much waste can build up in your body over time, even with moderately healthy eating! Since your colon can carry up to five pounds of matter, this is definitely a factor that makes a difference when you step on the scale.
Keep in mind that simply deciding to add digestive enzymes to your daily routine without any dietary modifications may help you drop a few pounds from your digestive tract, but this isn’t a sustainable method of weight loss when used alone.
Support a Healthy Microbiome
We know that poor diet negatively affects digestion but it also impacts the microorganism balance in our systems. On top of that, stress can have the same effect, maybe worse! The Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology published a recent study showing that consistent stress can alter the amount and diversity of your good gut flora, but a healthy balance and quantity of flora helps maintain a barrier keeping unhealthy intruders at bay. When these microbes are weakened, you can become more susceptible to illness, exhaustion, and nutritional deficiencies!
Now, you could commit to living a completely stress-free life and eating a perfect diet every single day and your gut would definitely thank you! But how realistic is that? We’re all going to end up eating on-the-go (probably too quickly) and overwhelming our schedules, but digestive enzymes can help keep your microorganisms on track so you don’t fall into the stress-weight gain cycle.
So, What Now?
If you’re looking for a way to lose weight, adding digestive enzymes to your diet is definitely one way to aid the process! It isn’t, however, a one-size-fits-all fix for an unhealthy lifestyle. With the standard American diet of overly processed foods and the fact that enzyme production naturally decreases with age, it’s no wonder so many of us suffer from bloating, waste build-up, and poor absorption! Thankfully, there are steps you can take to counteract these symptoms and get back on track for your weight loss goals!
Eat Whole, Unprocessed Foods
Adopting a healthier lifestyle may help to restore enzyme levels back to normal simply by including foods your body can use! You can begin by omitting the foods we mentioned previously (processed foods, refined sugars, preservatives, sugar alcohols, fast food) and replacing them with healthier options. This can include foods such as:
- Fresh fruits
- Fresh veggies
- Lean protein
- High-fiber seeds and nuts
- Pickled foods
Food enzymes are the ones we find in a colorful diet rich in raw vegetables. Sadly, the process of cooking food destroys naturally-occurring food enzymes, making supplementation a useful and important option! If you want an enzyme supplement that addresses a wide range of digestive issues and symptoms, look for products that contain all three pancreatic enzymes: proteases, amylases, and lipases.
Digestive enzymes aid weight loss efforts by promoting nutrient absorption, eliminating unnecessary waste, and keeping your microbiome in check! However, it is not a magic supplement that makes unnecessary weight fall right off. Rather, aim to improve your body’s natural balance with a healthy diet that includes all of the right foods and supplementing when necessary. You might just find that you’ve got more energy to get out there and #FindYourFit!
How do digestive enzymes aid your weight loss efforts?
Tell us in the comments below!