Gut Bacteria and Obesity


Bacteria Sample

Weight loss regimes have gotten new ammunition in the fight against obesity... new studies have revealed, and are continuing to reveal, a great deal of information regarding flora and fauna of the human digestive tract and the impact of these organisms on the absorption of nutrients and metabolism in general.  Gut flora and fauna are terms that refer to the microorganisms that normally live in the gastrointestinal tract.  Studies recently are giving scientists a much better understanding about how bacteria in the GI tract interact with both the human body and with each other. 

Just like other types of populations that coexist, dozens of different types of bacteria compete for dominance in an environment that could select for any one type of them on any given day.  Could it be that heavier people are walking around with a different cocktail of microorganisms in their intestinal tracts, keeping them heavy?  Could it be there's a skinny people bacteria profile?  Studies are increasingly showing that's a good possibility.

Some interesting findings have been driving the courses of different studies.  This began with the findings that diabetics and pre-diabetics have a peculiar profile of bacterial growth, and has made its way through the ranks of both the thin, average, and obese.  Each group tend to have a different bacterial profile.

So what does this mean for your average dieter?  It appears as though the bacteria in the gut are sensitive to the high carbohydrate, high fat diet.  They also appear to be sensitive to the presence of artificial sweeteners, although that evidence is just in its infant stages. These studies appear to be upholding the central truth of dieting...that having a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight is all about developing a taste for healthy food.  Once a person develops that, so do their gut bacteria. 

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