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Specific Gut Bacteria May Account For Much Obesity

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the what-you-need-is-a-transplant-of-the-right-kind dept.

Medicine 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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wrong wrong wrong (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371527)

Not Cowboy Neal's though.

He's just a fat flatulent slob.

Mass-Media Report (5, Informative)

resistant (221968) | about 2 years ago | (#42371529)

In retrospect, I guess it couldn't hurt to mention at least one mass-media report [ft.com] that doesn't seem too excitable:

Researchers in Shanghai identified a human bacteria linked with obesity, fed it to mice and compared their weight gain with rodents without the bacteria. The latter did not become obese despite being fed a high-fat diet and being prevented from exercising. The Shanghai team fed a morbidly obese man a special diet designed to inhibit the bacterium linked to obesity and found that he lost 29 per cent of his body weight in 23 weeks. The patient was prevented from doing any exercise during the trial. Prof Zhao said such a loss in an obese patient using this diet was unprecedented. The patient also recovered from diabetes, high blood pressure and fatty liver disease.

It will be fascinating to see what happens when other teams try to replicate these results with larger, more statistically significant groups than just one individual. ^^;

Re:Mass-Media Report (4, Interesting)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 2 years ago | (#42371547)

If this turns out to have any truth to it, it raises two questions in my mind:

1. Why? What's the link between this bacteria and weight gain?
2. What can we do? Is it possible to safely eliminate just this one bacteria via a vaccine or antibiotic?

Re:Mass-Media Report (4, Funny)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#42371565)

Is it possible to safely eliminate just this one bacteria via a vaccine or antibiotic?

Perhaps someone could post this bacteria's susceptibility to Alcohol. Preferably before New Years Eve.

Re:Mass-Media Report (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 2 years ago | (#42371575)

Perhaps someone could post this bacteria's susceptibility to Alcohol. Preferably before New Years Eve.

I've long speculated that gut bacteria plays a role in obesity, but based on my personal experience, alcohol merely exacerbates the problem.

Re:Mass-Media Report (5, Funny)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 2 years ago | (#42371801)

Gut bacteria? Nein, nein, das ist schlechte bacteria!

Re:Mass-Media Report (2)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#42371831)

Perhaps someone could post this bacteria's susceptibility to Alcohol. Preferably before New Years Eve.

blockquote>

I've long speculated that gut bacteria plays a role in obesity, but based on my personal experience, alcohol merely exacerbates the problem.

And we of the world are in your debt for your 'sacrifice' in the name of medical research.

Re:Mass-Media Report (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371611)

1. Good question! We'll get to that :)
2. An engineered retrovirus could pull it off. The danger there is once it's gone it's gone - the virus particles will hang around and prevent it from reestablishing.

I am not a microbiologist or anything though, so keep that in mind...

Re:Mass-Media Report (1)

an unsound mind (1419599) | about 2 years ago | (#42371909)

We can also try to find a substance that affects said bacteria and nothing else, and then flood the stomach with that.

The danger there is that very few substances we've found affect just the one type of bacteria.

Re:Mass-Media Report (4, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about 2 years ago | (#42371625)

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.

Re:Mass-Media Report (4, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#42371761)

The human body contains trillions of microorganisms — outnumbering human cells by 10 to 1. Because of their small size, however, microorganisms make up only about 1 to 3 percent of the body's mass (in a 200-pound adult, that’s 2 to 6 pounds of bacteria), but play a vital role in human health.

The NIH [nih.gov] is just starting to go there. It may well flip our understanding of how a number of disease processes unfold.

Researchers found, for example, that nearly everyone routinely carries pathogens, microorganisms known to cause illnesses. In healthy individuals, however, pathogens cause no disease; they simply coexist with their host and the rest of the human microbiome, the collection of all microorganisms living in the human body. Researchers must now figure out why some pathogens turn deadly and under what conditions, likely revising current concepts of how microorganisms cause disease.

Clearly the microbiota are biologically active - they produce, metabolize and secrete chemicals that interact with the human body. Not surprising that understanding that may help us understand the function and non function of ourselves.

In a sense, this isn't news. We've always known than humans are full of shit.

Re:Mass-Media Report (3, Informative)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about 2 years ago | (#42371845)

I read a few articles showing benefits of intestinal flora transplants from one individual to another. For example, this article discusses how it was shown to ease Parkinson's in certain cases (just the abstract, sorry):

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20927962.600-faecal-transplant-eases-symptoms-of-parkinsons.html [newscientist.com]

Re:Mass-Media Report: Inflamation (3, Informative)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 2 years ago | (#42371731)

Many things which travel through the gut don't cause a problem because the Cilia protect the digestive tract wall. When Cilia get damaged as with Crohn's Disease, then infection or inflamation can occur.

If the Enterobacter growth is enhanced by some items in the diet and suppressed by others that would not be surprising. If the Enterobacter or a product from that bacteria causes inflamation that causes the Pancreas to screw up the insulin production and regulation, that too would not be surprising.

It is only recently that investigation has begun to accelerate on what the effects of different bacteria in the gut are doing and why. Great article with potential for good results.

I know one thing we can do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371739)

Exercise and eat healthy food. This is affordable and works wonders for physical as well as mental health.

This method has worked well, and will continue working well despite whatever relationships between gut bacteria and obesity future studies may find.

Good plan, but not for those results (5, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 2 years ago | (#42371923)

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 [staticflickr.com] . 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.

Re:Good plan, but not for those results (3, Insightful)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Good plan, but not for those results (2)

Cederic (9623) | about 2 years ago | (#42372045)

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.

I was about to post that I can just keep eating those, but on reflection you're right. Those food types do make me feel full up.

It doesn't stop me wanting to eat more though, and even they tend to make me feel full long after my body's had enough food. I just don't generate/receive/notice the right signals.

(I'm also comfort eating a lot of carbs, so stress is the single biggest cause of any excess weight I'm carrying at the moment, but that's a different story. Unfortunately comfort eating leads to feelings of guilty, which cause stress, which leads to..)

Re:Good plan, but not for those results (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#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:Mass-Media Report (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#42371769)

Bacteria in the digestive tract has everything to do with how well you can process food. I rather thought everyone knew this already but I guess I was wrong.

We also know that modified bacteria can do all manner of transformative magic from making alcohol to cleaning up oil spills. If it is indeed shown that a dietary supplement of bacteria or something like that could make it so that I can look and feel healthy like I was when I was in my 20s and 30s without all the diet and exercise I have to do, then bring it on. Between now and then, I have become a completely different person. I can't eat as much or the same foods and I never needed to exercise before. Before I knew what was going on, I ballooned from 180lbs to 250lbs and went up in clothing sizes along with the weight.

I literally had to work my ass off. Low-carb and exercise brought me back and now I have to eat with moderation in all things but especially sugary foods, bread and pasta. Oh... to eat pizza again...

I know all too well what role bacteria plays in the digestive system. Too much or too little of certain buggers make you a flatulent friend indeed.

Re:Mass-Media Report (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371777)

If this turns out to have any truth to it, it raises two questions in my mind:

1. Why? What's the link between this bacteria and weight gain?
2. What can we do? Is it possible to safely eliminate just this one bacteria via a vaccine or antibiotic?

If this turns out to be true, every MOTHERFUCKER who's ever called someone fat or blamed them for their weight is going to have the shit beat out of them by a mob of angry obese people.

Go to mainland China. Try to find a fat man. (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#42371849)

They aren't all slender because they don't eat - they eat like horses. But its a lot less red meat (as in a LOT less), almost no dairy, and tons of rice and veggies.

Re:Go to mainland China. Try to find a fat man. (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 2 years ago | (#42372009)

almost no dairy

That's not really a choice for them. Less than 10% of adult Chinese are lactose tolerant.

Re:Mass-Media Report (3, Insightful)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about 2 years ago | (#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:Mass-Media Report (5, Informative)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#42371599)

This has actually been studied quite extensively in the last few years, mostly by American researchers. They've been able to show how that mice fed samples of this bacterium will gain weight drastically. Basically, the bacteria process certain sources of food that we're bad at absorbing and make it easier for us to absorb them. It's believed that there's an immunological mutation (which is otherwise all but harmless) that lets them proliferate excessively in humans (defence against flagella, I think), so one can actually say that obesity is genetic, albeit indirectly so.

But that all being said, while careful diet control is certainly effective for mitigating digestion-related problems, this study isn't a cure so much as a band-aid. I'm pretty sure anyone would lose weight and eliminate unwanted intestinal flora under the intake suggested.

Re:Mass-Media Report (1, Offtopic)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#42371653)

I'm pretty sure anyone would lose weight and eliminate unwanted intestinal flora under the intake suggested

Bingo. "Higher" fat, low carb diets don't make you fat. High carb, low fat diets are way more likely to do so. Worse, "low fat" foods often are packed with sugar.

I read about gut flora/fauna a while ago and realised that it may not be purely blood sugar levels affecting my mood. After being on a lower GI diet for a few years and taking probiotics, I'm slightly more able to eat "normal" food again without it affecting my mood so much. Potato still causes noticeable differences though.

Re:Mass-Media Report (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 years ago | (#42372099)

I don't see what your first part got to do with either of his comment or the /. entry.

This is topic nothing new (2)

tuxgeek (872962) | about 2 years ago | (#42371787)

Funny seeing the subject of gut bacteria in a /. forum.
Just last week I was reading an article on the Mercola.com site, link here:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/03/18/mcbride-and-barringer-interview.aspx

Gut bacteria has much more to do with overall health in general that most people think.
Weight loss being linked to having all the right bacteria in the gut is also a bonus

Re:This is topic nothing new (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#42372051)

While what you're saying is true, many of the claims on that page are difficult or impossible to substantiate. The mention of fibromyalgia in particular is a good indicator that you're reading trash, since it has no concrete medical definition. Steer clear.

Re:Mass-Media Report (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371949)

Some bacterium process food, others attack the host, some eat the host-attackers, and some eat the food-processors. Some bacterium release toxins throughout their life cycle.

> a diet of whole grains, traditional Chinese medicinal foods and prebiotics
Probably brown rice (1 calorie per gram). Chinese medicinal foods tend to be vegetables (~ .5 calories per gram). Some of these would be common dinner fare thought healthy like bok choi, and some would be enjoyed about as much as medicine, like ginseng. His normal diet was probably heavily based on sweets (4 cals/gram) and fatty meats (3 cals/gram or more). This crash diet would make him miserable enough, but then they added prebiotics and documented the die-off of endotoxin-producing bacteria. The word endotoxin means that the bacteria release toxins when they die. The guy's body was flooded with endotoxins in the first four days. Being also afflicted with other ailments, he most likely experienced the unpleasantness of a Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction, which is like the DTs.

Re:Mass-Media Report (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#42372065)

You're right; I was remembering something from a seminar I attended a few months ago and it may've been a bit mushy. I was really convinced that the Enterobacter problem had something to do with the abundance of short-chain fatty acids, but now that I dig into it it's pretty clear that the literature focuses on endotoxins.

Re:Mass-Media Report (2)

fifedrum (611338) | about 2 years ago | (#42371601)

If you feed anyone a special diet they can lose weight. Also note, their diet included "certain Chinese herbal medicines." So sure it worked, it worked just fine. And the media that covered it fell for that hook line and sinker. Including slashdot.

Now if these results came out of a real double blind study with controls and whatnot (like more than one patient?) this would be an interesting story. Now, it'll just generate diet spam.

Re:Mass-Media Report (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | about 2 years ago | (#42371951)

Perhaps it's just the diet.

But as an obese man, I for one welcome my new gut overlords.

I see what you did there (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371533)

...one wonders about that 'diet of whole grains.' Still, there could be meat in the idea...

My own studies (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371537)

My own studies suggest that the Crunchwrap Supreme is responsible for obesity.

I though it was over consumption of cals. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371541)

Shows how much I know! We should put these gut bacteria in cars instead of hybrid engines. We would get power from nothing!

Re:I though it was over consumption of cals. (5, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#42371553)

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).

Re:I though it was over consumption of cals. (5, Insightful)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:I though it was over consumption of cals. (5, Interesting)

rabtech (223758) | about 2 years ago | (#42371641)

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).

It's more than just that. Controlled studies where volunteers spent a couple weeks locked in a research facility eating only the precisely measured meals given to them by researchers showed variations in weight gain/loss, even after accounting for muscle mass, overall health, and amount of exercise the volunteers engaged in. Some participants lost weight, some stayed relatively the same, and some gained weight.

A persistently (and severely) restricted diet will eventually overcome all other factors and force you to lose weight, but it is obvious that some people absorb way more calories from the same meal than others. If the gut bacteria are breaking down certain complex carbohydrates, starches, etc that would otherwise go undigested, they could easily account for the difference.

In fact, in a famine or food-poor situation, such bacteria would be evolutionarily selected for, as they would give the carriers a leg-up, allowing them to stay healthy and non-malnurished while their neighbors starved.

Re:I though it was over consumption of cals. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371843)

but it is obvious that some people absorb way more calories from the same meal than others.

Then I have to ask, since you seem to be playing on some spurious scientific reasoning, is there some pathway you believe these 'magical' extra calories come from, in order to make fat people fat?

Calories in calories out and you lose weight. End of story. No exceptions. If I put a two pounds of luggage in the front seat of my car and take four pounds out the trunk, the car as a whole will be two pounds lighter.

No exceptions. Laws of physics and all.

Re:I though it was over consumption of cals. (1)

an unsound mind (1419599) | about 2 years ago | (#42371931)

The problem here is that nobody not on a strictly regimented diet or suffering from an eating disorder only eats as much calories than they need.

Human biology heavily pushes people towards moderate over-consumption. In fact, going under the amount of calories you require will cause significant fatigue and pain.

Calories in, calories out. For a slim person, however, the calories are coming out in their waste, because their body does not digest it the same way it does in fat people. That is, in fact, what the summary said.

Re:I though it was over consumption of cals. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371959)

Instead of asking OP for an explanation you should be explaining how your "no exceptions" interpretation accounts for the fact that ruminants can digest (ie extract calories from) cellulose yet humans and most other animals cannot cannot survive on such a diet and will starve.

Re:I though it was over consumption of cals. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#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.)

Re:I though it was over consumption of cals. (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 2 years ago | (#42372017)

So the laws of physics prohibit differences in efficiency?

Re:I though it was over consumption of cals. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42372027)

Obviously you've misunderstood the GP. Yes there is a set number of calories in a meal, but you don't automatically absorb 100% of the calories available. If you are unable to completely digest the meal, let's say only 70% of it, then the remaining 30% passes through your system and is wasted. People with this bacteria are more easily able to digest complex foods, so instead of wasting 30%, they would waste only, for example, 15% of it, requiring the body to either use the extra 15% of the calories or store them as fat.

Re:I though it was over consumption of cals. (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 2 years ago | (#42372049)

He, along with many others in here, are saying that more end up being taken out than going in. In simpler terms, you'd shit out some undigestable matter instead of it being absorbed and kept in your body, since the bacteria might be what's making it digestable.

Re:I though it was over consumption of cals. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#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:I though it was over consumption of cals. (4, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | about 2 years ago | (#42371863)

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.

Re:I though it was over consumption of cals. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371753)

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

I think you've got it all wrong. Having more guns in the hands of "good guys" would really be all we need to make the world safer.

Oh, wait... what were we talking about again?

Re:I though it was over consumption of cals. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371773)

Truth. There are dozens of potential pathways. My sister fell incredibly ill with a body-wide infection that near killed her in 2002. Like everyone else in my family she'd *always* been one of those people who could eat anything she liked and gain no weight. She's 5'10", was slim to the western celebrity ideal, and had done a little modeling. Her gut shut down and only after months of care could she come home - she left the hospital after four months with damaged kidneys and weighing more than when she went in, and over the next three years she continued to gain. Now she struggles to keep under 280lbs and she eats less than a quarter her previous diet. The rest of us eat freely and we're rake-thin - and by freely I mean we're all around the 5k calories a day mark while she's struggling to stay under 1500.

What happened? Logically I can only guess she began using more of the food she ate towards stored energy, or lost the ability to expend energy as much, or a mix of both. Maybe my brother and other sisters waste a lot of our energy intake, maybe we expend a lot by the nature of our metabolisms. Maybe my sister's gut bacteria died and whatever organism pushed changes in dietary absorbtion up had a chance to flourish at the expense of a 'healthier' flora. Maybe damaged organs change the ratio she stores vs expends.

What I'm getting at is "I thought it was over consumption of calories" like the gp suggested is a far too simplistic a suggestion - calories in vs calories out is obviously a valid equation at the root level, but calories put in the mouth do not equate to calories usable by the body and *that* does not equate to calories actually used by the body. I overconsume and I'm thin and metabolically healthy by all standards I've ever needed to be tested for. It's about as useful a suggestion for reasons of obesity as "I thought life was consumption of oxygen". Yeah, there's a link, but.... no.

Re:I though it was over consumption of cals. (0)

Princeofcups (150855) | about 2 years ago | (#42371795)

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).

And all those obese people eat too many calories, no matter what else is going on. Not everyone is designed to be skinny, sure, but there's a difference between being Samoan and being an American lard ass.

Re:I though it was over consumption of cals. (1, Troll)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#42371811)

There are indeed multiple causes.
1) Eating to much
2) Not moving around enough

I am overweight, yet I do not blame anybody but me. I do not exercise enough and I eat to much and unhealthy. When I bought my car, it started. Instead of walking to the bus/train each day for about 20-30 minutes and then from there to work. Instead of walking to the stores two or three times a week, which took another hour per time, I walk 20 meters to my car, sit in it and then walk 20 meters to my office.

Untill just a few years ago, the majority of people did not have a car. That means that they had to use other means to get around. Each one of them means more walking.

We are lazy. Even moving our arm up and down to brush our teeth is too much, so we use electric devices for that. If you need to go one or two floors up or down, do you walk or take the elevator?

So please stop finding excuses in some rare disease that somebody might have. Move around more and eat less and you will be thinner and healthier. Again: I am overweight and I am not going to look for excuses. If I want to get healthier, I must eat better and exercise more.

And those few you are talking about? I am sure that if they would have exercised more and eaten healthier, they would have no issues with whatever is causing their obesity.

Re:I though it was over consumption of cals. (1)

Zenin (266666) | about 2 years ago | (#42371847)

Sure, there can be dozens of factors.

Yet, 99.999% of the time obese people are eating processed sugar and fat by the pound.

Whatever fad diet of the month, whatever "ground breaking" research, they grab onto it all...but they never, ever drop the candy bars, cookies, cheese, cake, bacon, etc. It's an addiction, no less disgusting and debilitating then crystal meth.

Yet, what do their friends and families do? They send them endless gifts of candy, cookies, cheese/salami baskets. Are you people that fucking insane and heartless?! Would you send gifts of whiskey to an alcoholic friend?! What is wrong with you people!

---

It's a simple and tragic combination of sugar/fat addicts who have a hard time quitting, and a society that thinks it's OK to constantly pressure them to take another hit.

The only valid way to view someone eating a candy is to imagine someone shooting heroine into their veins.

Re:I though it was over consumption of cals. (1)

an unsound mind (1419599) | about 2 years ago | (#42371943)

Outrageous claims require some solid evidence.

Please provide properly peer-reviewed studies supporting your viewpoint.

Re:I though it was over consumption of cals. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#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.

In other news... (4, Interesting)

Kergan (780543) | about 2 years ago | (#42371555)

Scientists will soon discover that this gut bacteria is hugely successful at metabolizing fructose...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM [youtube.com]

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371651)

Mod this up! This is the best video on youtube by far. I myself am already seeing results. I eat high fat and high-carb (all the tasty goodness), but I'm doing my best to avoid sugar, or combine sugar and carbs with as much fiber as I can. Not gaining, and even slowly losing weight. Eliminating sugar is the one thing that has worked for me.

Yes, Lustig seems to be spot on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371803)

Another data point here in support of Lustig's results concerning fructose. Eliminating sugar started the process of shedding weight for me when nothing else was working, and the weight loss continues.

It's really hard to find processed food that hasn't had sugar added in one form or another, so I'm not surprised that there is an epidemic of obesity. The epidemic is created by the food industry's obsession with sugar (it's cheap).

The parent's suggestion that the intestinal flora might be contributing to the problem through fructose metabolism is certainly possible.

Re:Yes, Lustig seems to be spot on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371973)

When hot dogs are made with sugar, you know something is wrong with the food industry. And following Lustig's advice is easy: If it has Sugar or HFCS in the ingredients list, or sugar in the Nutritional Value list, don't buy it. if it has a good amount of fiber, then buy it. And then, limiting portions when you eat will become easier, and so will being active (since you will feel more energized as well).

We Are Just Hosts (1)

DanielRavenNest (107550) | about 2 years ago | (#42371567)

From the point of view of gut bacteria, we are just hosts serving their purposes as transportation and food suppliers. If they can get more food by releasing the right kind of chemical signals into our system, they will. This is a real life example of the way the fictional Goa'uld parasites treated their human hosts. But bacteria are not aliens, they are actually derived from the same ancient ancestors as us.

NOTHING WORSE THAN SEEING A FAT CHINAMAN !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371583)

Now, a FAT CHINAWOMAN, that's all right !!

Now get yer ass in gear! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#42371597)

I don't onow about this study in particular, but they did find certain strains, not normally found in rats, which stimulated a nerve which lead to stress, which lead to overeating and abdominal fat.

Just getting rid of that particular bacteria (there are hundreds, not just one "bacteria") fixed it.

Gut fuana is the latest study area. There are many quasi-stable configurations, some better than others. Each island of stability could be seen in terms of chaos theory and strange attractors, or various local minima in the multidimensiional gradient descent space of the environment, if you will.

excuses (0, Troll)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 2 years ago | (#42371613)

You're not fat because of "genetics".

You're not fat because of bacteria in your gut.

You're not fat because of ANYTHING except long term consumption of more calories than you burn.

Burn more calories than you consume, and you'll lose weight. One of the ways to do this is via exercise, which raises your base metabolism. The other way is via portion control, good breakfasts, and consuming low glycemic index foods.

Re:excuses (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371703)

+1, not that you need it. I eat all the junk food I want (and its a lot, and i love it) and i exercise to keep the weight off. Just burn as much as you take in. I hear people say things about thyroid, high metabolism and other bullshit, but your thyroid can't violate math, chemistry, physics, physiology (pick whichever one you want to cite) . This whole "epidemic " is a USELESS discussion. I'm 6' and ~155lbs so I'm pretty skinny, and people always talk about what a high metabolism I must have... they're not listening when i talk about running 50 miles every week, on top of other workouts. There is no magic cure, because there is no disease (except for laziness, excuses and stupidity).

Flame away...

Re:excuses (2, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#42371729)

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:excuses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371741)

> You're not fat because of ANYTHING except long term consumption of more calories than you burn.

You got any evidence to back that up? There is plenty of evidence to the contrary. And "nutrition" is the junkiest "science" this side of psychology.

> Burn more calories than you consume, and you'll lose weight.

This doesn't explain how some people are able to eat a lot of calories without gaining weight. Nor does it address the claims of the study.

I have known a few fat people who do eat well and exercise regularly. I have also known many skinny people who eat very poorly and don't exercise. Your simplistic explanation does not address that.

But hey, prevailing common sense trumps scientific study, doesn't it? That's why the earth is still flat, the sun orbits around the earth, and ulcers are only caused by stomach acids.

Re:excuses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371767)

But ... but .... science doesn't allow for self-righteous victim blaming! Those sick children clearly died for their sins and lack of faith!

You expect 6-month olds to exercise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371907)

There's no shortage of studies that show you're wrong. Exercise is healthy for many reasons, but burning off calories is not one of them, that's urban legend.

Here's a simple fact that even non-scientists should be able to understand. To "burn off" the calories from a single regular beefburger would require you to run energetically for at least 10 miles. Do you think that makes burning off calories through exercise a normal and reasonable part of weight control?

No it's not, and that's why normal people who are not in training for the marathon manage to keep their weight down anyway. We have a built-in negative feedback system that ensures that we don't absorb what we don't need.

Unfortunately in some people that process is broken, and we're trying to find out why. To blame their lack of marathon-level exercise is ridiculous. Do you realize that we have an epidemic of obese SIX MONTH OLDS? Are you expecting them to run 10 miles a day too?

Seriously, you need to stop repeating urban legend.

Re:excuses (2)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#42371945)

I forget the name of the recent female surgeon general who said the only diet that works is "Eat less, move more." No starvation diets, sensible portions eaten regularly, else your body goes into 'starvation mode' and saves/retains every calorie. Supposedly,it's an evolutionary trait from when a human might go weeks without food.

Re:excuses (2)

rodarson2k (1122767) | about 2 years ago | (#42371955)

You're not fat because of ANYTHING except long term consumption of more calories than you burn

If you consume a million twinkies encased in a metal cylinder, you won't gain an ounce. You have to absorb the nutrients. The bacteria are most certainly a factor in how the nutrients get processed and eventually absorbed. With the right engineering, the metabolome could be designed such that you could eat forever without becoming obese. There's more than one way (or even two ways) to solve any problem.

It may be a colossal waste of human and natural resources to do that engineering, but that doesn't justify your point at all.
Try to be factually correct.

Eating less (2, Insightful)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about 2 years ago | (#42371627)

I've found that the "eating less" diet really had significant efficacy in weight reduction.

Re:Eating less (0, Flamebait)

Quakeulf (2650167) | about 2 years ago | (#42371727)

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.

Re:Eating less (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#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:Eating less (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371925)

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!

Fucking hard to have a fucking large meal?

I can't help but thinking of the millions of starving people. That's hard. Not being able to resist eating five pizzas a day isn't hard, that's just mental illness.

It's possible to live while being hungry. Especially if you already had a fucking large meal 20 minutes ago. You should try it some time.

Re:Eating less (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371893)

You're an idiot. if you think life is this simplistic, think again. There are many reasons why some people just want to eat more than others and they have to starve to keep lower weight, and others do it without effort(like me). There are reasons why some people are big and others not. Different kinds of methabolism is true as well. Now you are just ignorant, as simplistic answers to any problem are always wrong. The more ignorant you are, the simpler is world around you.

Re:Eating less (1, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#42371743)

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

Re:Eating less (2)

rajafarian (49150) | about 2 years ago | (#42371881)

I can feel the joy of countless obese people knowing that they can now enjoy all the potatot chips and twinkies that they want to eat.

Bull Shit. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371659)

This is bull shit. You cannot escape the laws of thermodynamics.

If you eat more calories than you burn, you get fat.
If you burn more calories than you eat, you get skinny.

"Weird gut bacteria is the reason I'm fat" can join the list of other bullshit excuses: "thyroid conditions" or "leptin resistance" or "genetic predisposition".

No, you're fat because you eat too much and sit on your ass too much. "But I work out all the time!" No you don't. You're lazy when you work out, admit it. Those calorie counters on the machines lie to you, and you never really push yourself consistently. If you did, you wouldn't be fat.

Too bad doctors don't prescribe 30 miles of running per week. If you did that, you wouldn't be fat. End of story.

Re:Bull Shit. (1)

Quakeulf (2650167) | about 2 years ago | (#42371735)

Mod parent up. You're making a lot of sense here. :3

Re:Bull Shit. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371821)

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

Re:Bull Shit. (2)

kdataman (1687444) | about 2 years ago | (#42371833)

This is bull shit. You cannot escape the laws of thermodynamics.

If you eat more calories than you burn, you get fat.
If you burn more calories than you eat, you get skinny.

It isn't that simple. I eat whatever I want and don't workout much and I haven't been able to gain weight ever in my life, and I have tried. I lived off of fast food lunches for several years when I was single but for some reason my body doesn't respond to the calories. I don't have high cholesterol or high BP and the doc says I am healthy - just skinny. I have met several people like me, and others that I know that (if they ate what I ate) would balloon up rather quickly.

GO AND FUCK YOURSELF (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371853)

Do YOU feel hungry 20 minutes after a fucking huge meal?
Do YOU have any injuries that make excercise difficult?
Do YOU have any one of the conditions you so readily dismiss.

Laws of thermodynamics MY ARSE. Not everyone's body has the exact same efficiency. Your body is not a closed system, unless you're so ANAL you've never TAKEN a shit in your life.

You go fucking run 30 miles a day you fucktard, and see how long your body lasts. Care to do that at age 80 you miserable excuse for a human being. Fat hating disguised as science is revolting. GO AND FUCK YOURSELF.

Re:Bull Shit. (2)

compro01 (777531) | about 2 years ago | (#42371875)

Where do "the laws of thermodynamics" state that efficiency doesn't matter?

YES (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371661)

I was right, it has nottin' to do with with eating 10x a week at McHooterKings...

Calories? (1, Insightful)

nnnnnnn (1611817) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Calories? (2, Informative)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 2 years ago | (#42371757)

Is it too outlandish to consider that perhaps having a certain bacteria could cause you to metabolize foods differently, resulting in weight gain regardless of diet and exercise?

Really -- it's not that outlandish an idea. Of course a good diet and exercise are splendid -- but the fact is there are millions of people who do diet and exercise see very poor results compared to others.

Re:Calories? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371825)

not true. Giving the same foot and the same work (ex. walk 1 mile, ...), in a controlled studies have shown that some people will gain wight while others lose. What they are talking about in this paper has been known before. Some bacteria brake down food more; so your body takes in more of the calories that would be junked out. Some bacteria release thing that make you feel hungry; so you feel hungry. If you have both types (there are over 50 that do this), you will have a harder time not gaining wight. My dad drinks water all day and eats at most once a day a meal less then 500 calories. He does not lose wight.

Re:Calories? (5, Insightful)

eWarz (610883) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

priorities: fatso vs starving (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371667)

A bacterium which breaks down undigestible nutrients into digestible nutrients, and instead of thinking about how we can use this to improve the health of the 1 billion malnourished individuals in the world, we think about how to eliminate it just to help out the Common American Fatty?

Fun Facts (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about 2 years ago | (#42371713)

The human body contains trillions of microorganisms — outnumbering human cells by 10 to 1. Because of their small size, however, microorganisms make up only about 1 to 3 percent of the body's mass (in a 200-pound adult, that’s 2 to 6 pounds of bacteria), but play a vital role in human health.

http://www.nih.gov/news/health/jun2012/nhgri-13.htm [nih.gov]

We are quite litterly crawling with bacteria and other shit. Their very critical to our health.

Now what is scary is we have GMO companies that want to produce cows that produce milk with GMO bacteria for us to be their perfect little labratories...

Yup, diaria will definitely cut your weight. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371751)

All you need to do is select an e.coli without too many other side effects.

Bits from comprehensive study from Common Sense: (1, Insightful)

drankr (2796221) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

When I was young, I was skinny as a rail (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371897)

I literally ate 10,000 calories a day and didn't gain an ounce. I drank a full 8 pack of 16 ounce pepsi bottles every day, ate a large bag of potato chips and a pound of cheese every day. This is on top of a large breakfast, lunch, afterschool dagwood sandwiches, huge supper with seconds at every meal. After dinner I would eat chips, more cheese, other snacks and popcorn loaded with butter. For breakfast I would eat a stack of 10 pancakes, a couple of boiled eggs, a 6 egg omlet, toast, sausage, bacon, a huge glass of milk, and with everything slathered with butter and bacon grease. Lunch was a box of chocolate donuts and a huge cocolate milk shake, dinner was steak, mashed potatoes, green beans. If I ate at a fast food restraunt it was 10 cheese burgers and a couple of large fries.

I was 5 foot 8 inches tall and I maintained less than 110 pound weight for most of high school.

And it wasn't because of my activity level either. I was a complete, couch potato when I was a teen ager. I just sat around reading, or playing video games on my computers.

Once I hit 30 years old I started gaining weight. No matter how little I ate I kept gaining weight. No matter how much I increased my activity level I kept gaining weight. Now I keep my food intake down to less than 1200 calories a day and try to walk everyday.

Glad to know that there might be a treatment to help me out soon.

Re:When I was young, I was skinny as a rail (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about 2 years ago | (#42371911)

I can confirm this. But I was less sedentary then you. However caloric intake does not correlate linearly or causaly with obesity. It can but its not a 1:1 for certain 100% thing.

6kcal MRE's twice a day. 3 bottles of Dr Pepper, and a whole pizza per day. Shit should have killed me.

At 30 I can barely eat 1lb of high protien low carb, and drink water all the time and I can gain weight. Allot has to do with water weight it seems, some has to do with activity levels which are much more sedentary now.

If this is true could you fix this by (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | about 2 years ago | (#42371915)

First giving the patient a dose of antibotics and then once most of the bacteria are dead then give them a fecal transplant that contain a better mixture of gut flora?

Re:If this is true could you fix this by (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about 2 years ago | (#42371937)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fecal_bacteriotherapy [wikipedia.org] (worst wiki article but sufficient)

It is the best way to cure Clostridium Difficile (CDI) [wikipedia.org]

Seems like you probably already knew this and were just looking for someone to post something about it =)

Autoimmune arthritis diseases (1)

Mondo1287 (622491) | about 2 years ago | (#42371917)

There is a growing movement blaming autoimmune arthritis diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, on gut flora. http://www.mayoclinic.org/news2012-rst/6933.html [mayoclinic.org]

This bacterium didn't exist 30 years ago? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42371957)

Magically, this wee bug only came into existence about 30 years ago when the new food pyramid came in and told everyone to eat carbs, eh?

Diet influence: bacteria is a second "symptom" (2, Interesting)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about 2 years ago | (#42371963)

So here's a correlation confound. Your gut bacteria is a big function of the kind of diet you have. This is advertised heavliy by the yogurt people: live-culture yogurts to help get you "regular", yucko. So people who eat more yogurt will have more acidophilus and lactobacilli. Those who eat meat (and particularly poorly cooked meat) will tend to have bacteria associated with those meats. Beef-eaters may have more e. coli (Jack-in-the-Box infected burgers, anyone), chicken-eaters may have more salmonella than others, and pork could mean many bacteria and even trichinosis (worms) or brain-monsters.
.
So since your meat-eating habits may influence your bacteria, cutting down on meat will simultaneously improve your dietary intake and change your gut bacteria. This creates the confound. Is it the bacteria that created the bad health, or was the bacteria another symptom of the bad health that came along with the unhealthy diet?

I'm not fat (1)

drewsup (990717) | about 2 years ago | (#42372033)

I'm infected!

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