Gut Bacteria Can Influence Being Fat or Thin

Understanding Gut Bacteria

Gut Bacteria Influences Being Fat or Thin
Gut Bacteria Influences Being Fat or Thin. tbradford/Getty Images

Just when you thought all you had to worry about was getting in your workouts and healthy food. Now, gut bacteria has entered the scene as another reason for being unable to lose fat.

Obesity has risen to an epidemic status and scientists are turning their attention to gut bacteria as the cause. Research indicates a link to the trillions of microbes populating our gut and their relation to human metabolism and adipose (fat).

This could get really complicated with lots of biological terminologies, but let's keep it simple with a clear understanding of what's going on in our gut. We begin forming gut bacteria from birth and our microbial balance is established from our food and environment. Think of good fighting evil continuously in our gut. When bad bacteria triumphs over good, an ugly imbalance occurs.

A study published by the Department of Microbiology, Cornell University suggests “the microbiota can influence host adiposity through energy extraction from the diet”. Simply stated, bad gut bacteria can alter our metabolism so we convert food to stored fat.

It's the abundance of bad bacteria that influences fat formation. More bad bacteria present equals more fat cells and stores the body will have. Let’s take a closer look at gut bacteria and how to implement steps to turn the gut microbial scales in our favor.

More Bad Gut Bacteria Equals More Fat

Gut Bacteria
More Bad Gut Bacteria Equals More Fat. Science Picture Co/Getty Images

Multiple studies "relate imbalances in the composition of the gut microbiota to obesity and its associated diseases.”  Recent research led by Dr. Jeffrey Gordon at the Washington University School of Medicine took gut microbes from 4 sets of human twins and introduced them into germ-free mice.

One set of twins was lean and the other obese. The microbes (gut bacteria) taken from the lean twins produced lean mice and bacteria from the obese twins resulted in fat mice. “The “lean” and “obese” microbes had different measurable effects on the body’s metabolism.”

Interesting when all mice were placed in the same cage, the lean gut bacteria transferred to the obese mice causing them to lose weight and develop bacterial profiles similar to the lean mice.

The research shows bad gut bacteria to be one of the possible causes of obesity. The important thing to grab from all this is to create gut bacteria like the lean mice.

Bad Gut Bacteria Causes Unhealthy Food Cravings

Gut Bacteria
Gut Bacteria is Linked to Food Cravings. Vasko/Getty Images

Bad gut bacteria may be doing more than making us fat. Scientist have further explored unhealthy food cravings being influenced by our unbalanced microbes.

The following is stated in a 2014 abstract by J. Alcock, C. Maley, and C. Aktipis “modern biology suggests that our bodies are composed of a diversity of organisms competing for nutritional resources." It appears the microbe war in our gut may lead to cravings and conflict regarding food choices.

Self-control over eating selections may help calm microbial signals that originate in our gut. High probability exists that acquired tastes for unhealthy food stems from microbes benefiting from those foods.

Our goal is to override the bad bacteria stimulus by changing our eating behavior. Bad gut bacteria wants to be kept alive by the host (you) feeding it what it wants to be maintained. This spells big time cravings for bad gut bacteria foods. It's time for microbiota or bad gut bacteria intervention in order to make a change in our intestinal flora, lose weight, and feel better.

Hot to Improve Good Gut Bacteria

Gut Bacteria
Increase Good Gut Bacteria with a High Fiber Diet. istetiana/Getty Images

Bad gut bacteria feed off diets high in saturated fat and low in fruits and vegetables. This diminishes the growth of good gut bacteria. It will be important to implement changes to start forming good gut bacteria and stimulate weight loss.

The following tips will be helpful:

Healthy Nutrition: eat a high fiber, whole foods diet. Incorporate foods like beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, all of which feed good gut bacteria.

Eliminate Processed Foods: keep sugar intake, animal fats, and processed foods to an absolute minimum or eliminate completely to encourage the growth of good bacteria.

Pre and Probiotics: research is currently in its infancy as to how best to colonize the gut with truly effective flora. Supplementing with pre-and probiotics are under the research microscope as one of the ways to improve gut bacteria and digestive health. Probiotics are harmless and may possibly create a happy environment for good gut bacteria. Always consult your doctor before taking any supplements including pre and probiotics.

Things to Avoid: Avoid the use of antibiotics, acid blockers, and anti-inflammatories which destroy good and bad bacteria and do not create a favorable gut environment. Antibiotics should only be used when necessary and prescribed by a physician.


Future Medicine, Microbiology, The relationship between gut microbiota and weight gain in humans, Vol. 7, No. 1, Pages 91-109, Emmanouil Angelakis et al., 2015

British Journal of Nutrition, Microbiology, Gut microbiota composition is associated with body weight, weight gain and biochemical parameters in pregnant women, A. Santacruz et al., 7/10

US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Gut Microbes and Diet Interact to Affect Obesity, Katherine Wendelsdorf, Ph.D., 9/13

Diabetologia, Selective increases of bifidobacteria in gut microflora improve high-fat-diet-induced diabetes in mice through a mechanism associated with endotoxaemia, P. D. Cani et al., 9/07

Cell and Molecular Biology, Is eating behavior manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms, Joe Alcock et al., 8/7/14

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