A new study by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that bacteria in slimmer people may help treat obesity. The results of the study suggest that there are different kinds of bacteria populations living in both lean and overweight individuals. Researchers injected those different bacteria into mice and found that they lost or gained weight according to the corresponding bacteria, The Guardian reported.
Four pairs of women who were twins participated in the study led by Jeffrey Gordon. One woman in each set of twins was overweight while the other was at a healthy weight. To complete the study, Gordon and his team collected expelled gut microbes and tested them to find out if the microbes from a slim individual could offer weight loss therapy.
According to The Guardian, the mice who received injections containing the microbes of slim women stayed at a healthy weight while the mice who were given the microbes from overweight individuals put on more pounds. The bacteria found to be more plentiful in slim women is from a family of bacteria called Bacteriodetes.
Will we see changes to food?
The overweight and healthy weight mice were then put in the same cage so the scientists could observe any changes between them. According to the study, the obese mice were more lean after sharing a cage with the slim mice if they were eating a healthy diet high in fiber and low in saturated fats. However, if the mouse's diet was switched back to high fat and low fiber, they didn't experience any weight loss. The results show that exercise is important for weight loss but remaining slim also means maintaining a healthy diet.
Gordon believes the beneficial changes to the mice were due to the healthier diet. The higher quality the mice's food was, the higher the quanity of Bacteriodetes present in their guts. However, there hasn't been an "epidemic of leanness" in the Western world because many diets are high in fat and low in fiber, which would go along with the results seen in the overweight mice. The results of the study, published in the journal Science, may help with the future development of foods and therapies used to offer weight loss help in overweight individuals.
"In the future, the nutritional value and the effects of food will involve significant consideration of our microbiota, and developing healthy, nutritious foods will be done from the inside out, not just the outside in," Gordon told The Guardian.
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