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Specific Gut Bacteria May Account For Much Obesity 470

resistant writes "A limited study from China offers the tantalizing possibility that targeting specific gut bacteria in humans could significantly reduce the scope of an epidemic of obesity in Western countries: 'The endotoxin-producing Enterobacter decreased in relative abundance from 35% of the volunteer's gut bacteria to non-detectable, during which time the volunteer lost 51.4kg of 174.8kg initial weight and recovered from hyperglycemia and hypertension after 23 weeks on a diet of whole grains, traditional Chinese medicinal foods and prebiotics.' As usual, sensationalist reports have been exaggerating the import of this very early investigation, and one wonders about that 'diet of whole grains.' Still, there could be meat in the idea of addressing pathogenic bacteria for the control of excessive weight gain. After all, it wasn't too long ago that a brave scientist insisted in the face of widespread ridicule that peptic ulcers in humans usually are caused by bacterial infections, not by acidic foods."
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Specific Gut Bacteria May Account For Much Obesity

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  • by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @05:42PM (#42371553) Homepage Journal

    Why is everyone here in the US hooked on the "false dillema" falicy?

    Why can't there be multiple issues? We do have the people that overeat, but there's more that a few people that have had problems with obesity and no one quite understands what the real cause is. There can always be multiple causes and multiple solutions (or not one single solution).

  • by newcastlejon ( 1483695 ) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @05:44PM (#42371561)

    Why are people hooked on the "false dillema" falicy?

    FTFY. Please, let's try and have at least one science article free of politics and anti-$country rhetoric.

  • by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @05:58PM (#42371625) Homepage Journal

    Instestinal flora seems to have become something more scientists are looking into. The make up of the flora seems to have large number if influences. We may find even more surprises as more research happens.

  • Eating less (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stevegee58 ( 1179505 ) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @05:58PM (#42371627) Journal
    I've found that the "eating less" diet really had significant efficacy in weight reduction.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 22, 2012 @06:03PM (#42371663)

    At the other end of the spectrum, some people with tapeworms can eat enormous amounts of food without gaining weight at all. Which just goes to show, you can't assume all humans to be equal.

    Much like with the rich and the poor, it seems the thin like to pretend that it's all down to their virtue and resolve, and the fat like to pretend that it isn't.

    I know that I'm thinner and more fit than I deserve based on my lifestyle, which makes it hard for me to judge others who may do more work for less results.

  • Calories? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by nnnnnnn ( 1611817 ) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @06:03PM (#42371665)

    Search the article for "calories" and not a single mention. If you eat more than about 2000 calories, you're going to gain weight,less- you lose weight. I don't see any way the subjects in the experiment lost weight without lowering their normal calorie intake.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 22, 2012 @06:05PM (#42371671)

    Gut bacteria and other factors can change things up to a small degree, but you'll never get around the basic physics of your metabolism. Expend less energy than you consume, and you will gain weight. Expend more than you consume, and you *will* lose weight. You cannot gain weight if you don't consume enough food to keep your body running anymore than you can continue driving a car on an empty tank.

    That said, there are some drugs that prevent certain types of "nutrients" from being digested (e.g. Lipitor makes it more difficult for your body to digest fats) which is an effect that may be replicated by some natural things (e.g. gut bacteria).

    But really, it's no shock that people are fatter today. We have a diet that is primarily based on very calorie dense, processed simple carbohydrates. Pretty much *everything* you buy has added simple carbs (SUGAR) which is just not how things used to be. This is a double edged sword because everything you eat has more calories, and is less filling (because simple carbs are 2-3x more calorie dense than proteins and fats.

  • Re:excuses (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 22, 2012 @06:09PM (#42371699)

    Let's introduce something into your gut that throws off the horomones which control your hunger response. See how well you cope when you go around all day feeling unsatiated no matter what you eat.

    Not saying bacteria is all of it, but it's damn well within the realm of possibility. Maybe science will find a fix for this "weak will power" that many people get chided over, and at least we may have one reasonable solution to the obesity problem without having to hear so much bitching and criticism over it.

  • Re:excuses (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @06:14PM (#42371729) Homepage Journal

    Were you actually puffing out your chest and thumping it while writing that bit of holier than thou or did it just read that way?

  • Re:Eating less (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @06:16PM (#42371743) Homepage Journal

    Yes, much the same way shut the fuck up and hop cures a broken leg.

  • Re:Eating less (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 22, 2012 @06:27PM (#42371813)

    Occam's razor applies. The only thing that directly affects your weight is what you put into your mouth. Genes and anything else is bullshit. You won't get fat by eating only leaves of salad every day for your entire life no matter how fat your parents are. STOP BELIEVING THERE IS A SECRET BEHIND OBESITY, THERE ISN'T.

    Stop fucking blaming the patient! You know why 90%+ of diets fail long term? Because it's FUCKING HARD TO LIVE LIKE THAT ALL YOUR LIFE. If you don't have a weight problem, and if you feel full and satisfied after a normal meal, you will just never understand the INTENSE agony of constantly being hungry and feeling hungry 20 minutes after a FUCKING LARGE MEAL, Yeah sure, if you can live like a buddhist monk and excercise like fucking Rambo for the rest of your life, you can lose weight. You know what though? Most people aren't fucking superhuman. FUCK!

  • Re:Bull Shit. (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 22, 2012 @06:28PM (#42371821)

    Also, exercise is a shitty way to lose weight. Really. It isn't going to compensate for eating too much shitty food.

  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @06:36PM (#42371863) Homepage Journal

    Gut bacteria and other factors can change things up to a small degree, but you'll never get around the basic physics of your metabolism. Expend less energy than you consume, and you will gain weight.

    That's very oversimplified to the point of being almost wrong. The problem is that your metabolism varies depending on how much energy is available. If you cut your calorie intake to try to lose weight, your cells slow down their metabolic rate to compensate, and you're still expending no more energy than you consume. When the system is calibrated correctly, people keep a fairly constant weight no matter how much or how little they eat. When the system is calibrated wrong, people can't lose weight no matter how little they eat. There are things you can do to improve your odds, such as starving yourself for one day every few days so that your body does not adjust to the reduced calorie consumption, but that only goes so far.

    And although you are correct that consuming sugars and starches instead of fats and proteins makes this problem worse, high protein diets are hard on your kidneys, heart, etc. So that's not a fix, either. The right fix is to figure out why the whole system is out of balance and fix it.

  • by drankr ( 2796221 ) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @06:38PM (#42371873)
    Overeating junk and sedentary lifestyle account for the obesity epidemic. Beyond these two facts, there's nothing important, or even interesting, to be learned about the obesity epidemic.
  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @06:47PM (#42371923) Homepage Journal

    You know, that doesn't work for everyone. It sounds great when it works for YOU, but it's entirely possible to eat reasonably, exercise a lot, and *still* not lose weight. I exercise five days a week, two hours a day, and I'm not talking light exercise []. I don't eat sweets, I don't drink, I control my carbs, I make sure I don't drown in meat proteins... I *love* veggies and eat them every day, both salads and side dishes, and I *still* have trouble controlling my weight. Yeah, I'm strong and have stamina and flexibility -- all important targets for my undertakings -- but the fat wants to hang around regardless. I have *never* been "cut." Kinda sleek looking like a seal back in my teenage days, pretty big through the chest and shoulders, but even then I carried extra weight (i'm talking fat) on my thighs and ass. And I was active as hell. Caving, swimming, martial arts, biking, dragging musical equipment from gig to gig, rope climbing, pushing lawn mowers... I hardly ever sat still.

    Today I have students that are so cut, so defined, so obviously on the extreme low end of the body fat range it would make you cry... and if that didn't do it, watching them wolf down $15 worth of McDonald's poison surely would. I can't eat that crap at *all* or my weight takes right off. Not that I really want to, but still, the message is clear: What makes me fat doesn't make you fat, and so forth.

    Everyone's experience is not the same. Metabolism, infection, allergies, immune system fuckarows and Darwin knows what else...

    "Exercise and eat healthy food" is not a universal prescription for "control body fat." It's just a good start for baseline health.

    I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if someone identifies one (or more) independent factors that drive fat retention. I've suspected it for years.

  • by TemperedAlchemist ( 2045966 ) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @06:58PM (#42371969)

    The bacteria plays a roll in the "feeling full" mechanism. It's a symbiotic parasite, usually doing no harm.

    It's not so simple to get rid of.

    Consider helicobacter pylori, the bacteria linked to stomach ulcerations. The discovery is that high acidity of the stomach causes this bacteria to produce a protein that neutralizes the stomach acidity: and creates ammonia as a byproduct. Your body regulates stomach acidity with the aid of a hormone gastrin. So in return, to raise acidity, more gastrin is produces and thus more acidity. This causes the same feedback loop problem seen by a foods with a high glycemic index, and overcompensation results in harm to the body.

    It's fairly widespread, and most of the time asymptomatic.

    Antibiotics show the pitiful development of our medicines. They're more or less equivalent to nuclear bombs in pill form. They'll ravage good and bad bacteria indiscriminately, and may even create mutant bacteria resistant to the drug.

    Really, it may just mean you need to make a dietary change to correct the problem. There's talk about the kinds of food we're eating that influence these bacteria to behave in certain ways, and about how diets low in calorie dense foods can correct this.

  • Re:Calories? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eWarz ( 610883 ) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @07:00PM (#42371977)
    This is false. My wife can eat 1200 calories on a given day and still gain weight. I can eat 3500 calories in a day and still lose weight. The issue is the level that your body is able to break down certain foods. Example: Eat a 2000 calorie meal. Just because the meal is 2000 calories doesn't mean that 2000 calories go into your body. Certain fats, proteins, etc. don't break down in each person the same way. One person might get 1800 calories from that meal, another person 1300. Also, insulin levels and the like prevent you from burning fat.
  • by PRMan ( 959735 ) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @07:06PM (#42372003)

    I make sure I don't drown in meat proteins

    Sounds like you may need to eat MORE protein. As far as I can tell, and I'm not a scientist or dietician, all the diets that work have a combination of more protein and less carbs. I cut my carbs down to 125 g per day and I lost 70 lbs in 9 months. But I greatly increased my intake of meat, eggs, cheese, nuts, etc. Any time I get hungry, I eat one of those and I feel full immediately.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 22, 2012 @07:07PM (#42372015)

    Try and follow this:

    1. Humans shit.
    2. Human shit has calories in variable amounts.
    3. Humans excrete in other ways as well (breathing, sweating, pissing, hair removals, etc.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 22, 2012 @07:26PM (#42372095)

    The law of conservation of energy is just that. It's the law. Don't eat you lose weight. How many fat people do you see when food is short? Starving people are not fat. I'm sorry but that is the law.

  • Re:Eating less (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 22, 2012 @07:33PM (#42372123)


    We live in an often depressing world, however we have found cheap and easy medication for depression in sweet and fattening food.

    you will just never understand the INTENSE agony of constantly being hungry and feeling hungry 20 minutes after a FUCKING LARGE MEAL

    You are eating the wrong types of things or have a serious medical condition (very slim odds on the medical condition)

    Most people aren't fucking superhuman.

    People are no different than 50 years ago, we just have different comfort foods available. Obesity has gone up because availability has gone up and cost has gone down.

    If you really find it difficult to eat less food and better food, it really only takes a few month to re-train your body. It can be a very tough time because you body is used to what it is getting but it is worth it. Obesity is rarely a medical problem, but rather a self-control problem. Once you re-train your taste and body, the self-control becomes a non-issue.

  • by Zenin ( 266666 ) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @08:31PM (#42372379) Homepage

    What outrageous claim?

    How to not be a fat ass: Eat less, move more.

    This is hardly a fringe position. I only add the suggestion to it that rather then start with crazy fad diets (that have zero "peer-reviewed studies"), that people start simply by not eating trash like pure sugar and pounds of cheese. If you need a "peer-reviewed study" to convince you that not eating complete shit is a good thing, you're already beyond hope.

    And I add the advice to those who have fat friends and family, to stop giving them "gifts" of complete shit such as candy and pounds of cheese.

    None of this is the slightest bit outrageous. But ya know what is outrageous? You and your ilk that demand "peer-reviewed studies" before you'll even consider the idea that chowing down on donuts and brie might not do wonderful things to your waist line.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 22, 2012 @08:45PM (#42372451)

    ... except for the person. Why blame the person for eating like a pig instead of in moderation, when you can blame whatever crap pharma claims to sell you "the next best pill"?

    Stop eating like a pig, exercise your lazy azz and you will see results without hurting your health (with chemicals/drugs).

  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @09:10PM (#42372551) Homepage Journal

    Look, no one is arguing that starvation will leave you fat; eventually, you'll burn it. Unfortunately for simplistic reasoning like yours, the fat isn't always the first thing to go. It can be muscle tissue, organ tissue, etc. and there are many questions of various low level nutrient shortages that arise with extreme low calorie diets as well.

    There are few subjects as rife with misinformation as diet; part of that is because we don't know what works for everyone, part of it is because there's an entire industry preying on those who are looking for various one-button solutions in that information vacuum. Not to be confused with the disinformation glut.

  • by swillden ( 191260 ) <> on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:18PM (#42372777) Homepage Journal

    Your metabolism can only adjust so far, and it's not actually all that far. If that weren't true, then people wouldn't starve to death, their metabolism would just keep adjusting until they could live on practically nothing.

    Restrict your caloric intake to, say, 1500 calories per day, and you'll lose weight, and you'll keep losing it as long as you maintain that. Include some strength training to avoid also losing muscle tissue. When you reach your target weight, increase your intake to normal, but weigh yourself daily and monitor your weight tend, if it starts trending upward, reduce your food intake slightly. Continue tuning your intake until you are at the weight you want and staying there. Once you've got that figured out, continue weighing yourself daily and adjusting if the trend lines go too far out of whack.

    Easy, right? Well, no. Controlling calorie intake is not easy. It takes a fair amount of work to track what you're eating, and a lot of discipline. Technology can help, though, a lot. Use a smartphone app to log everything you eat and the exercise you do. Get a Wifi-enabled scale (I have the Fitbit Aria) and stand on it every morning, then use another tool (I use the web site) to track your trend lines.

    It works. I was at 240, and am now at 200, where I've been for a year. I've decided that I really need to be about 180, so I'm going to get focused on lowering calorie intake again starting after the holidays. I target a 1000-calorie daily deficit, which is pretty danged steep, but results in a consistent two pounds per week of weight loss, so I should be down to 180 by mid-March, late March at the latest.

  • Re:Calories? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by russotto ( 537200 ) on Sunday December 23, 2012 @01:36AM (#42373455) Journal

    People are commenting that some people eat 500/1200/etc. calories and still not loosing weight. Can someone explain this to me?

    Yes. They're deluding themselves about how much they're actually eating.

"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe