A new study may shed some light on why certain people can lose more weight than others despite adhering to the same regime of exercise and caloric restriction. Alongside a myriad of other recent medical discoveries, the secret may lie in the unique make-up of our gut bacteria.”
by Rich Haridy, New Atlas, August 1st, 2018
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 tracks. 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, there’s the potential for difficulties arise.
When Gut Bacteria Make Things Difficult
In MAYO’s study, they found that the gut bacteria of those less able to lose weight were more able to metabolize carbohydrates. This means that they 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.
This helps illustrate the point that weight loss is more difficult and complicated than just eating healthy and exercising. 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 reaching our goals. We recommend that you look for support from people with understanding, and never give up when looking to better yourself, because you can do it.
Read more about the original study findings at the original article: New Atlas