Gut bacteria are essential to the digestive system and help us maintain good health. Unfortunately for some people who want to lose weight, this same bacterium may be making it more difficult.
According to a new, small study some people’s gut bacteria may play a role in determining how easy, or difficult, it is for them to lose weight. The study suggests that, among people who have a hard time losing weight, their gut bacteria tend to be better at using carbohydrates, which provide people’s bodies with more energy. This is usually a good thing, as people need energy to fuel their bodies. But for some people trying to lose weight, the ability of their gut bacteria to provide energy may be a weight-loss deterrent, the researchers said.
Dr. Purna Kashyap, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and co-senior author of the study believes that the study “tells us gut bacteria are likely an important determinant of the degree of weight loss attained following lifestyle and dietary intervention”.
It was also pointed out by researchers that the findings are preliminary and need to be confirmed with larger studies. But the study suggests the need to take the microbiome into account in future clinical studies relating to weight loss.
These recent findings agree with other recent studies that suggest gut bacteria may play a role in obesity and weight loss. For example, a 2013 study in mice found that mice who received a “gut bacteria transplant” from an obese human gained more weight and fat mass than those who received bacteria from a lean human.
Studies like these are hoped to some day among other things identify people who would respond, or not, to a given diet. It could also lead to modifying a person’s weight loss plan based on an individual’s gut bacteria.