Is Your Gut Bacteria Making You Fat?
The difference between skinny people and heavy ones might be the bacteria in their belly
According to new research in mice, the creepy-crawly bacteria that live and breed in our bellies may make all the difference between whether we flaunt an apple or hourglass figure. Dr. Jeffrey Gordon from Washington University in St. Louis , who conducted the study, believes that the hundreds of different bacteria that live in our guts may influence how well we burn - or store - fat, and can either spur obesity or protect against it.
To test his theory, Dr. Gordon took several groups of human twins, where one was obese and the other thin and transplanted their gut bacteria into mice who'd been raised in sterile cages without ever being exposed to bacteria-- like bubble boy -- then waited for the results. The mice injected with the fat flora gained weight while those who got the lean stuff stayed thin -- even when they were all fed the same diet.
Dr. Gordon then put the mice in the same cage to see what would happen if they swapped gut bacteria. "Oh, how do they do that?" you ask. Well, mice like to eat each others feces, which means plenty of bacteria-sharing for all!. Yeah, we were pretty grossed out, too. The mice originally injected with the "fat" microbes adopted the bacteria of the thin mice and began losing weight. Thankfully, eating the obese mouse's germs had no effect on the thin mice. The results suggested that the bacteria in our bodies not only affect our weight, but that we can lose weight just by changing our gut bacteria.
So how do you go about getting skinny people germs -- save the unthinkable?
Promising new research shows that getting thin people bacteria might be as simple as changing what you eat: Think low-fat and high-fiber foods. So, no, cheeseburgers and pizza won't cut it.
Here, a closer look at the best foods to get your skinny bacteria growing.
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