Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Importance of Gut Bacteria in Weight Control

In a 2008 study at The Washington University St. Louis Medical School, researchers indicated that trillions of bacteria live in our gut. These bacteria perform specific activities, including the extraction of calories from food and the management of nutrients. And while the bacteria are common to all people, each individual has a unique set of the bacteria. A more recent study done at Washington University showed that the composition of the bacteria plays an important role in weight control.
Working with mice, the researchers found that obese mice had more of the bacteria called Firmicutes in their gut, and fewer of the bacteria called Bacteroidetes. Firmicutes are associated with obesity and Bacteroidetes are associated with leanness. Furthermore, diet played a significant role in the number of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes in the mice gut. Those mice who were fed a low-fat diet had more Bacteroidetes and less Firmicutes than the mice who were fed the high-fat diet.
Since diet plays an important role in the composition of gut bacteria in mice, there is a high probability that diet plays a significant role in the human gut bacteria composition. Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes also populate the human gut. The above mentioned studies provide more evidence that diet is the significant factor in controlling weight.
Of course, more study will enable the researchers to determine exactly what diets best control these bacteria in humans. This determination could lead to the creation of of more effective diets.
Organizations that provide meal replacements should be especially interested in creating more effective diets. Therefore, these organizations should be interested in the above mentioned studies. Understanding gut bacteria that function in the body to influence obesity or leanness might enable meal replacement producers to manufacture better diet products. And bariatric or weight loss centers could offer these improved diet products as part of their weight loss services.
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December 30, 2009 at 12:42 AM  
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December 30, 2009 at 6:01 PM  
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February 19, 2010 at 5:24 AM  

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