Disrupted intestinal flora

If excess weight does not seem influenced by calorie restriction and exercise, however strict, then perhaps disrupted intestinal flora is the culprit. Scientists have discovered that whether we are fat or thin depends on large extent to which intestinal bacteria colonize our intestines.

Studies have shown that overweight people have a different microbiome than slim people. This overweight population has a very special group of bacteria called Firmicutes that show up more frequently than other types of bacteria. While bacteria strains called Bacteroidetes and Bifidobakterien belong to the slimming bacteria group, the Firmicutes strain ranks among the biggest fat-making bacteria. In theory all these bacteria exist in the intestine. However, the proportion depends on the relationship between the different bacterial strains. If the ratio of slimming bacteria to fattening bacteria is disrupted and shifted in the direction of Firmicutes, then we may have the cause for excess weight.

The Firmicutes can break down otherwise indigestible dietary fibers and make them digestible for the intestines. In this way we absorb up to 10 percent more calories from food. By splitting up dietary fibers from vegetables, whole grains and fruit, we can absorb up to 250 more calories per day: At the end of a year, this accounts for 10 kg (22 pounds) of excess weight! Taking certain probiotics and prebiotics can help balance the intestinal flora.