Losing weight is hard enough, with a slew of different trending diets and approaches each preaching different methods and offering varying results, but new research suggests there could be a newly discovered culprit in our plight to shed pounds. A Mayo Clinic based in Rochester, Minnesota is pointing a stern finger at gut bacteria, citing it as "an important determinant of the degree of weight loss attained following lifestyle and dietary intervention."
We've been hearing an awful lot about gut bacteria lately, with companies touting all kinds of food and beverage products featuring probiotics and prebiotics aimed at taming the stuff. This latest study correlating gut bacteria and difficulty losing weight will likely only make those products more popular.
Here's the deal: The research notes that the gut bacteria of folks who are struggling in their weight loss journey is often better at using carbohydrates. You'd think that would be a good thing because wouldn't we all like to be able to eat a ton of pasta and bread and burn through it? In this case, scientists say the ability of their gut bacteria to provide energy by using these carbs may ultimately prove to be a weight-loss deterrent.
Feeling like you can't win? Same!
The Mayo Clinic team wants to stress that these findings are very preliminary and there's more work to be done to truly assess gut bacteria's affects on weight loss, but the initial findings have sparked more interest in the part the microbiome plays in these efforts.
Interestingly, study participants who were placed in a "successful weight loss" category had higher levels of a bacterium identified as Phascolarctobacterium. Those in the less than stellar weight-loss group had higher amounts of a bacterium called Dialister. Just another discovery that requires a deeper dive.
In an a story published on Live Science, the site spoke with Dr. Vijaya Surampudi, a doctor with the Risk Factor Obesity Weight Management Program at UCLA Health not involved in the study, hopes that the study will lead to broader research on identifying people who are more likely to be responsive or not to specific diets. In the case of those with the carb-using bacteria, perhaps this could mean those folks would do better with a low-carb meal plan.
We're open to any research that sheds light on the overwhelming weight-loss struggle that affects so many. Wouldn't it be nice to live in a world where our efforts were guaranteed to be effective? We'd like to think so.