Many popular weight-loss approaches work at first but actually set you up for long-term weight gain. How? By creating an imbalance in your digestive track microbes, aka your gut microbiome.

Common mistakes.. yo-yo dieting Dieters often lose a lot of weight and then regain it, sometimes more than they lost. One reason may be that yo-yo dieting harms the gut microbiome.

Eating too much or too little fat, or the wrong kinds While high-fat diets permit harmful gut bugs to thrive, going on a low-fat diet can backfire too. You want healthful fats. The best inflammatory fats include olive oil. Eat seafood for gut-friendly omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseeds and chia seeds.

Too little fiber  Too many diets, especially low-carb ones, skip high-fiber foods. Aim for 5 grams to 35 grams a day. Best sources: beans, cruciferous vegetables, (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage), fruits (especially berries) and oats.

Artificial sweeteners. Saccharin, sucralose and aspartame may have zero calories, but they change the gut biome and not in a good way. Animal and human studies link them to weight gain.

The wrong probiotic: If you take a probiotic supplement and are trying to lose weight or keep weight off, look for a product containing Lactobacillus gasseri, Lactobacillus paracasei. Even better, eat more probiotic-rich fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh and miso.

Source: Bottom Line Personal April 2018 Gerard E. Mullin, MD, a gastroenterologist and a associate professor of medicine at The John Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of Integrative GI Nutrition Services at The Johns Hopkins Hospital , both in Baltimore. His latest book is The Gut Balance Revolution: Boost Your Metabolism, Restore Your Inner Ecology, and Lose the Weight for Good!