New Study Says Weight Gain Comes From Bacteria
A new study says that bacteria in the intestines plays a key role in weight gain, The Los Angeles Times reports. I was about to swallow a few gulps of hand sanitizer, but here’s the catch: the composition of bacteria in your gut is altered when you consume a high-fat, high-sugar diet, making it easier to gain weight and harder to lose it.
According to a report published Wednesday in the new journal Science Translational Medicine, humans need such bacteria to help convert otherwise indigestible foods into digestible form. And when people eat too much fat and sugar, the change in bacteria can happen in as little as 24 hours.
Many factors play a role in the propensity to gain weight, including genetics, physical activity and the environment, as well as food choices. But there’s increasing evidence (including this study, which tested mice) that bacteria in the gut also play a key role.
Ninety percent of the bacteria fall into two categories: the Firmicutes and the Bacteroidetes. Previous research had shown that obese mice had higher levels of Firmicutes, and lean ones had more Bacteroidetes. Scientists concluded that the Firmicutes were more efficient at digesting food that the body can’t.
Animals that have a higher proportion of Firmicutes convert a higher proportion of food into calories that can be absorbed by the body, making it easier to gain weight.
Now you can have a very intellectual reason to skip that second slice of pie this Thanksgiving!