Your Gut Bacteria Might Be Making Your Weight Loss Efforts More Difficult

There’s some fascinating new research coming out in the area of microbiota-the mysterious bacterial population in our gut that seems to be functioning as an additional organ system.  In an article by Rich Haridy in the New Atlas, August 1st, 2018 some research is reviewed discussing the relationship between the microbiota and our weight.

Here is a Summary

If you’ve ever felt like your weight loss was disproportionally small compared to your efforts, or the results others seem able to achieve, it might not just be in your head. A study by MAYO Clinic has some interesting insights into gut bacteria, what they do, and how they could make weight loss more difficult.

What Are Gut Bacteria?

Gut bacteria, like their name suggests, are microscopic bacteria that live in our digestive tracts. Contrary to the usual image we imagine when we think about bacteria, gut bacteria aren’t diseases that make us sick. They’re helpful to us, helping us digest what we eat in a mutually beneficial relationship. Normally, gut flora and our bodies work together symbiotically, but in the case of weight loss, some types of gut bacteria are more helpful than others.

When Gut Bacteria Make Things Difficult

In MAYO’s study, they found that the gut bacteria of those less able to lose weight were better able to metabolize carbohydrates. This means that those individuals experienced less benefit from normal weight loss strategies like calorie restriction. Basically, the positive effects of gut bacteria that would help us survive difficulties in the wild (like starvation) come back to bite some of us when we actually want to lose weight.


It’s not a level playing field when it comes to weight management.  No one should be feeling superior, or inferior for that matter, when it comes to how their weight management efforts stack up against those of others. Environmental factors, genetic factors, psychological factors, among many others, throw a wrench in what’s often portrayed as a simple process. Even so,  we shouldn’t let physiological differences we might have serve as excuses that lead to us holding ourselves back from making our best efforts to achieve our goals. Look for support from people with understanding and know that professional recommendations from an RD/nutritionist can help put you in control.

Read more about the original study findings in the original article: New Atlas

About the Author