How Bacteria Affects Your Weight Loss
By Kevin DiDonato MS, CSCS, CES
The number of people who are overweight or obese is slowing reaching epic proportions.
In fact, in the US alone, most states (with the exception of Colorado) have a higher percentage of their population that is overweight or obese.
There are many different causes for the rise in obesity.
Society as a whole has become more sedentary and the availability of high calorie, nutrient dense foods is always at your fingertips, which could increase weight gain.
However, research has also pointed to bacteria in your gut, called microflora or microbiota, which may also play a role in overweight or
In fact, a new study published in the journal FASEB, could highlight the role that gut microbiota plays in your weight gain or weight loss.
Let me explain…
Gut Microflora and Weight Gain
Research has shown a connection between microbiota, weight gain and energy expenditure.
In fact, it has been shown by clinical research that the gut microbiota profile is dramatically different in overweight/obese individuals compared to their lean counterparts.
The microflora in obese individuals has been shown to breakdown and store food nutrients differently than lean individuals.
It has also been shown that gut microbiota in overweight and obese individuals may breakdown and extract MORE calories out of food and store it, which could lead to increased obesity levels.
The authors of this study wanted to determine exactly how microbiota contributes to weight gain, satiety, and body weight changes.
They had two goals for their research:
• To examine changes in lipogenic, adipogenic, and intestinal nutrient signaling components in the intestines as it relates to microbiota from obese and obese resistant mice
• Examine the effects of transferring obese microbiota into germ free mice
The researchers fed the rats a high fat diet for eight weeks and found that mice with obese microbiota gained more weight, had increased adiposity, and showed increased food intake over a 24 hour period compared to obese-resistant mice.
In the germ free mice, after transplanting microbiota from obese mice, they showed an increase in obese microbiota population and alterations in lipogenesis and adipogenesis.
From their results they showed that there could be an increased ability of gut microbiota to modify metabolism of the host by altering both the ability of the intestines to sense nutrients and alterations in the energy signaling pathway, which could increase weight gain and obesity levels
Although this research is new, it does verify other research which shows that obese individuals and lean individuals have a different microbiota profile. Plus, it also shows that changes in weight may lead to changes in the microbiota profile, which could increase energy intake and may increase overweight and obesity levels.
A Healthy Gut
The equation for weight loss is simple: burn more calories than you are consuming.
As much as this equation still holds true for weight loss, there are a number of other contributing factors which could limit your ability to lose weight.
Inflammation, “sick” fat cells, and an altered microbiota profile could inhibit your body’s ability to lose weight and keep it off.
Now it has been shown that bacteria inhabiting your gut could play an integral role in energy metabolism and expenditure, by altering metabolism of food particles and storage of energy after digestion.
Changing your diet to include a wide range of fruits and vegetables, essential fats, lean meats, and fiber could increase weight loss, which may alter your gut bacteria profile and alter your energy metabolism.
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Duca, F. sakar, Y. Covasa, M. Gut microbiota modulates metabolic and nutrient sensing signaling pathways in obesity. FASEB J. 2012. (Meeting Abstract Supplement) 830.5.
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