Struggling to lose weight? There might be a reason why

gut health and weight loss

While some people seem to lose weight effortlessly, others tend to have a much harder time despite trying (what seems to be) everything possible.

Now, new research has discovered gut bacteria may be a factor in determining how easy it is for people to lose weight. Here’s what you need to know.

The study

The study analysed 26 people over a 3-month period and discovered those who struggled to lose weight also had gut bacteria which were better at using carbohydrates – which provided them with more energy.

Though having more energy is typically good as it fuels the body, for people trying to lose weight, the ability of their gut bacteria to provide more energy can act as a weight loss deterrent.

Study author and Gastroenterologist Dr. Purna Kashyap said the result “tells us gut bacteria are likely an important determinant of the degree of weight loss attained following lifestyle and dietary intervention”.

The researchers also stressed the findings are preliminary and need to be confirmed with large evidence, though it may provide direction to pursue individualised care in obesity.

How else does gut bacteria affect our health?

  • Heart disease
    Preliminary findings from a 2013 study discovered when gut bacteria feed on particular foods (for instance, beef and eggs), a compound called trimethylamine-N-oxide is produced, which can boost the risk of heart disease. These results reinforced people should reduce consumption of foods high in fat and cholesterol.
  • Immune system

Simply, gut bacteria and cells play an important role in developing a fully-functioning immune system. This is because the gut is the main area where the immune system interacts with what is put in the body (for example, food).

  • Brain

A study conducted with mice in 2011 found disruption of gut bacteria may have an effect on the brain and behaviour. The results discovered mice given antibiotics (which kill gut bacteria) were less anxious and once the destroyed gut bacteria was restored, their anxiety increased.

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