Last week I published an interesting post on research into the relationship between genotype and diet.  If I recall correctly, I believe I made the comment that it was the most interesting research on weight that I had seen in a long time.  Hot on its heels is this interesting bit of research out of Emory University, which indicates that germs. . . that’s right, GERMS . . .  in the digestive tract may have something to do with weight gain. While the articles that have appeared in the media over the past few days report some more in-depth findings, this is not the first time we have heard the theory.  Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis introduced us to this theory in 2006.  Which only goes to prove that it’s 2010 . . . over 30 years have gone by since we put a man on the moon . . . but we still don’t know anything for sure about the inner mysteries of the human body!  The encouraging news is that we may finally be trending away from looking at weight management as soley a behavioral issue.

Here are some links to the most recent articles appearing in the last few days about this research at Emory University:

Emory researchers noticed that mice with an altered immune system were fatter than regular mice, and had a collection of disorders — high blood pressure, and cholesterol and insulin problems — called metabolic syndrome, often a precursor of heart disease and diabetes.

Everyone is born with a sterile digestive tract that within days is flooded with bacteria from first foods and the environment. Altered immunity in these mice meant somewhat different bacteria grew in their intestines than in normal rodents — driving bigger appetites, metabolic syndrome and a low-grade inflammation believed key to obesity’s illnesses, Emory associate pathology professor Andrew Gewirtz reported Thursday in the journal Science.

Germs in gut may be to blame for big appetite –

Lest you think the articles you have seen over the past few days are new, here is a link to research done at Washington University in St. Louis and published in Nature journal that suggested a link between germs and fat in 2006!

Obese people have more digestive microbes that are especially efficient at extracting calories from food, the researchers said, and the proportion of these super-digesting organisms ebbs as the people lose weight. Moreover, when the scientists transplanted these bacteria from obese mice into lean mice, the thin animals start getting fat. This provides more support for the provocative theory that the bacteria that populate the intestine play an important role in regulating weight.



Filed under diet, health and wellness, medical


  1. Shirley Williams

    I read this article also and I was very interested. I also was glad to see that research is leaning away from blaming and into actual causation.

    Keep these great posts coming. I really am enjoying them.

    • Thanks, Shirley. Sometimes it’s difficult to determine what the research study actually says from the way it’s reported in the media. Unfortunately, we usually don’t have time to go back and read the research directly.

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