Why smokers gain weight after quitting

Why Do Smokers Gain Weight After Quitting

Many individuals fear weight gain upon quitting smoking, though not everyone experiences it. Nonetheless, quitting smoking is highly recommended for overall health improvement. Upon cessation, individuals can adopt healthier lifestyle habits for a longer and healthier life.

Why Do Smokers Gain Weight After Quitting

Additionally, research suggests that weight gain following smoking cessation is not primarily due to increased appetite, as commonly believed, but rather attributed to changes in intestinal flora composition post-quitting. Studies indicate that approximately 80% of individuals who quit smoking tend to gain an average of 7 kilograms. Surprisingly, their calorie intake typically remains the same or may even decrease compared to pre-cessation levels. Therefore, what exactly contributes to this weight gain? Let’s explore further.

Changed Composition of Bacterial Diversity in IntestineResearchers who worked with Gerhard Rogler of Zurich University Hospital attributed the cause of excessive weight gain post quitting smoking to a change in the diversity of bacteria present in the intestine. The researchers pointed out that the bacterial strains that linger in the intestinal flora of an obese person also influence him/her to give up smoking.

How the Study Derived the Conclusion: Comparison of Stool Samples

A team of researchers conducted a study examining the genetic material of intestinal bacteria present in feces. They analyzed four stool samples per person over a 9-week period, involving five smokers, five non-smokers, and ten individuals who had quit smoking a week before the study began.

The results revealed that while the bacterial diversity in the feces of smokers and non-smokers remained relatively stable over time, those who had recently quit smoking experienced the most significant shift in microbial composition. Despite no changes in their eating or drinking habits, participants who quit smoking gained an average of 2.2 kilograms.

Researchers suggested that the altered composition of intestinal flora following smoking cessation might lead to increased energy absorption, contributing to weight gain in non-smokers.

Further studies are ongoing to provide a more conclusive understanding of these findings.

Strategies for Losing Weight if You’ve Gained Weight After Quitting

  • Increase fruit consumption and limit junk food intake.
  • Opt for stairs over elevators and commit to treadmill workouts five days weekly.
  • Incorporate fruit and vegetable juices into your diet.
  • Choose lean meats like chicken and turkey over red meat to manage cholesterol levels.
  • Take a 15-minute morning walk, and short walks after meals can aid digestion.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water based on your weight.
  • Prioritize at least 8 hours of sleep to feel refreshed the next day, avoiding late nights.