You can try “fad” diets all you want, but not every diet, or every dietary guideline, has the same effect on everyone.
Meet your gut flora.
This is the microbiota (good bacteria) that coats your digestive tract. The reason your gut flora helps you stay lean is because it serves as a catalyst to help the body break down carbs, produce vitamins B and K, and support your immune system (amongst several other functions).
According the Scientific American, “New evidence indicates that gut bacteria alter the way we store fat, how we balance levels of glucose in the blood, and how we respond to hormones that make us feel hungry or full. The wrong mix of microbes, it seems, can help set the stage for obesity and diabetes from the moment of birth.”
Perhaps the key to weight loss is not only a healthier and more active lifestyle, but also having the right internal ecosystem as well.
According to Scientific America, “In studies of twins who were both lean or both obese, researchers found that the gut community in lean people was like a rain forest brimming with many species but that the community in obese people was less diverse—more like a nutrient-overloaded pond where relatively few species dominate. Lean individuals, for example, tended to have a wider variety of Bacteroidetes, a large tribe of microbes that specialize in breaking down bulky plant starches and fibers into shorter molecules that the body can use as a source of energy.”
The issue is that we are somewhat predisposed to this gut bacteria; starting in the birth canal.
For example, babies who are born vaginally acquire bacteria when passing through the mother’s birth canal, while babies who are born via C-section do not, and are therefore more susceptible to becoming obese. Low doses of antibiotics in children can also lead to a cancellation of some of this good gut bacteria: “Antibiotics are like a fire in the forest,” Dominguez-Bello says. “The baby is forming a forest. If you have a fire in a forest that is new, you get extinction.” When Laurie Cox, a graduate student in Blaser’s laboratory.”
So how do obese people, who are genetically predisposed to having poor gut flora, reverse this condition? Wouldn’t the solution to this, along with eating a healthy diet and staying active, beat obesity?
The only solution the scientists have found in reducing existing obesity amongst individuals who have bad gut flora, is by way of eating lean individuals’ feces.
According to Scientific America: “Gordon’s team then repeated the experiment with one small twist: after giving the baby mice microbes from their respective twins (lean and obese), they moved the animals into a shared cage. This time both groups remained lean. Studies showed that the mice carrying microbes from the obese human had picked up some of their lean roommates’ gut bacteria—especially varieties of Bacteroidetes—probably by consuming their feces, a typical, if unappealing, mouse behavior. To further prove the point, the researchers transferred 54 varieties of bacteria from some lean mice to those with the obese-type community of germs and found that the animals that had been destined to become obese developed a healthy weight instead. Transferring just 39 strains did not do the trick. “Taken together, these experiments provide pretty compelling proof that there is a cause-and-effect relationship and that it was possible to prevent the development of obesity,” Gordon says.”
Probiotics are not the simple solution to this problem. However, continuing to research how to build a strong internal ecosystem will help solve this problem.