New medical research indicates a mix of microbes in your gut can either help or hinder weight-loss efforts. “We started with the premise that people have different microbial makeups, and this could influence how well they do with dieting,” says Purna Kashyap, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic.
Kashyap and her team tracked the progress of individuals who were participants in a weight-loss lifestyle-intervention program. They advised the participants to follow a low-calorie diet as the researchers tracked them closely for three months.
They discovered that people who lost at least 5 percent of their body weight had different gut bacteria than those who did not lose 5 percent of their body weight. According to their findings, the successful dieters had an increased amount of Phascolarctobacterium.
Another bacteria, Dialister, was associated with an inability to lose weight. Kashyap says there probably are other types of bacteria that influence dieting too.
As it turns out, we can get a large number of calories from microbes. We do not have the right enzymes to digest every bit of certain types of food, but our bacteria can.
These bacteria eat what we cannot, and during the process of eating they produce byproducts that we digest. These byproducts become another source of calories.
The new study concludes that certain bacteria may be more efficient at creating extra calories for the body to digest. And microbes in the gut could hinder or help efforts to lose weight.