Two new studies show that obese people have different intestinal bacteria than slim people. What's more, the microbes in an overweight body are much more efficient at extracting calories from food.
One study looked at mice, the other looked at humans. In both, a family of bacteria known as firmicutes were more plentiful in the obese (20 percent more). Bacteria called bacteroidetes were also much more abundant in those of normal weight (the obese had almost 90 percent fewer bacteroidetes).
Most likely because of the firmicutes, the obese mice were more efficient at taking calories out of complex sugars and depositing those calories in fat. When these microbes were transplanted into the normal-weight mice, those mice started to gain twice as much fat.
As obese people lost weight, their bacteroidetes increased, while the numbers of firmicutes decreased.
Having the right bacteria in your gut has an enormous influence on your health. In fact it is likely that one of the main benefits of eating healthy is that it will nurture the right types of bacteria growing in your colon.
There is a wealth of evidence demonstrating that the nutritional cause of many diseases is related to an imbalance of bacteria in your gut, a problem easily rectified by eating a diet that has minimal processed high quality, preferably organic foods.
This is one of the reasons why taking antibiotics can be so dangerous as they kill beneficial bacteria in your gut and can lead to overgrowth of yeast that the late Dr. William Crook helped to bring to consciousness.
This new report gives more credence to infectobesity, the study of microbes and viruses in your gut that may be responsible for some cases of obesity.
Influencing the bacteria growing in your body for the positive is easy by making better food choices, starting with reducing, with the plan of eliminating, sugars, fructose and most grains from your daily diet. Ideally, your gut should contain a ratio of 85 percent "good" bacteria to 15 percent non-beneficial bacteria, but the high-sugar Western diet has caused this ratio to actually reverse in many people.
As a standard recommendation, I strongly advise keeping your TOTAL fructose consumption below 25 grams per day. However, for most people it would actually be wise to limit your fruit fructose to 15 grams or less, as it is virtually guaranteed that you will consume “hidden” sources of fructose from most beverages and just about any processed food you might eat.
Fermented foods like raw milk yogurt and kefir, some cheeses, and sauerkraut are good sources of natural, healthy bacteria, provided they are not pasteurized. So my strong recommendation to virtually everyone reading this would be to seek to make fermented foods a regular part of your diet; this can be your primary strategy to optimizing your body's good bacteria.
If you do not eat fermented foods on a regular basis, taking a high-quality probiotic supplement is definitely recommended as an "insurance policy" to make sure your colon is balanced with good strains. Many of you may know that I recommend supplements very sparingly but for the patients that are seen in my Chicago-area clinic nearly everyone is given an omega-3 fat supplement and a high-quality probiotic.
On Vital Votes, Dr. Jason Lauer from