Slimming: intestinal bacteria impede diet


Study detects changes in intestinal bacteria in obese people

Time and time again weight loss takers try a diet. But after the abandonment phase, the dreaded JoJo effect sets in. On the one hand, because many return to their old eating habits, on the other hand, because the bacteria in the gut prevent a long-term effect. This is the conclusion of an Israeli study.

Scientists at the Weizmann Institute in Israel have found in their recent research that certain intestinal bacteria may be associated with frequent weight gain after diets. Doctors published the results of their study in the journal Nature.

Many people regain weight quickly after dieting. This effect seems to be due to our intestinal bacteria. (Image:
Many people regain weight quickly after dieting. This effect seems to be due to our intestinal bacteria. (Image:

Do intestinal bacteria resemble our previous weight?

Are you one of those people who gain weight fast after dieting? If so, this could be related to the bacteria in your gut. "These seem to keep a kind of memory of the past weight," experts say.

The Jo-Jo effect is triggered by long-term changes in intestinal bacteria

The present study was performed in mice. "The results suggest that the so-called yo-yo effect is not just a matter of unhealthy eating habits," the researchers write. In contrast, this effect appears to be associated with long-term changes in gut bacteria, which are usually caused by obesity.

Changes in the intestine last a long time

Obesity-induced changes in intestinal microbiomes last about five times longer than the actual dietary time. This led the rats to regain weight quickly after the end of the "diet," scientists say. If results can be transferred to humans, this would lead to more evidence-based methods of weight loss, experts speculate. The observed effect may explain why some people have these problems controlling their weight after dieting, says author Eran Elinav of the Weizmann Institute.

Study in rats studied impact of diet conversion

In the study, obese rats were switched from a high-fat diet to a balanced diet. These animals were no longer distinguishable from a control group of mice by weight change and a number of metabolic factors (such as blood sugar levels), doctors say.

Obese rats retain differences in their intestinal bacteria

The researchers found that previously obese mice retained differences in their intestinal bacteria, which increased the animals' weight gain by eating high-fat foods. When the bacteria from the obese group were inserted into the intestines of control rats, they also gained weight faster.

The detected effect can be a type of psychological shock absorber

The observed effect could act as a buffer against weight loss in times of food shortages, the researchers explain. However, in the case of obesity, this mechanism can lead to a faster weight gain.

Changes in intestinal bacteria may take years in humans

In the mice, the microbiome changed only slowly. The bacteria required a period of six months to restore a normal microbiome, as in the control group. This time period is about a quarter of the life of a rat in captivity, explain the scientists. Doctors predicted that a comparable period of time could be between months and years for humans. This can be a really worrying thought for the sufferer, says author Elinav.

Does successful change in the microbiota require antibiotics?

If the human microbiome undergoes changes similar to those of the mice, the target group could be helped. Once changes in the microbiome are reversed, this can help maintain healthy body weight achieved after dieting, experts say. However, the consumption of some probiotic yogurts is not enough. The composition of intestinal bacteria is difficult to change. The treatment would eventually require antibiotics to eradicate the existing bacterial population, the researchers explain.

Intestinal bacteria from patients appear to convert more energy into fat

The rate of weight gain can be predicted based on the composition of the mouse microbiome, say the authors. The data suggest that a change in metabolism causes intestinal bacteria to convert existing bacteria into more energy into fat, the authors explain.

People with long-term obesity recover 80% after a diet
Another research has already suggested that people with long-term obesity who lose weight through a diet regain weight in 80% of cases in 12 months. (THE)


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