It can be incredibly frustrating when you’re doing all the right things and still not seeing weight loss results. But researchers have suggested a surprising factor behind the struggle some folks have in shedding kilos – gut microbiome.
Yep, the specific activities of certain bacteria have been found to hinder weight loss in some subjects. A preliminary study published in Mayo Clinic Proceeding analysed gut bacteria samples from 26 people trying to slim down, and discovered that gut bacteria in those who did not lose weight were different from gut bacteria in participants who did. More specifically, the bacteria Phascolarctobacterium was linked to weight loss success, while the bacteria Dialister was associated with failure.
"Gut bacteria have the capacity to break down complex food particles, which provides us with additional energy. And this is normally is good for us," says Vandana Nehra, a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and co-senior author of the study. "However, for some individuals trying to lose weight, this process may become a hindrance."
Researchers determined that the increased ability of some subjects microbiome to use certain carbohydrates was linked to a lack of weight loss.
"This suggested to us that gut bacteria may possibly be an important determinant of weight loss in response to diet and lifestyle changes," Dr. Kashyap says.
"While we need to replicate these findings in a bigger study, we now have an important direction to pursue in terms of potentially providing more individualised strategies for people who struggle with obesity," she added.
"These bacteria in our gut are wired into our immune system, our metabolism, and even our brain," Erica Sonnenburg, a microbiota researcher at Stanford University Medical School, previously told Women's Health. "I think if you have allergies, asthma, weight issues, diabetes, and even depression and anxiety, it could mean that your gut is not in an optimal state,"
To harness the fat-fighting power of bacteria, she recommends adding fermented foods like kombucha, sauerkraut and yoghurt into your diet, as well as ensuring you are getting an optimal fibre intake with loads of veggies, legumes and grains.