Two recent headlines shed further light on obesity and dieting.
New research suggests that germs in your gut may drive appetite, suggesting that there is a direct link between obesity and the presence of bacteria in your body. Other studies in the past have shown that normal weight people and overweight people seem to harbor different types of microbes and even different amounts of microbes in the intestinal tract.
When researchers looked at overweight mice, they noticed that in some cases their immune systems were altered or impaired, and that seemed to instigate the extra burden of weight and associated chronic disorders known collectively as "metabolic syndrome." Since every baby is initially born with a sterile digestive tract, it may be an alteration in the immune system that allows for certain bacteria to grow or for certain levels of bacteria to grow. The specific bacteria profile may then instigate a more voracious appetite, metabolic syndrome or even inflammation, which is associated with disease risk. There's no dispute that people are eating more and certainly other factors may be at play. This research merely suggests another possible explanation.
Another study suggests that your diet may not be working because it doesn't fit your gene makeup. The theory is that how you burn and store calories, is somewhat connected to your hard-wired DNA. So if the way you diet is matched to this personal DNA set up, maybe your dieting efforts will be far more successful. Interleukin Genetics Inc., a Massachusetts based company chose 3 specific genes that had a role in metabolism. Some participants were matched to a "low carb" diet, while others were matched to a "low fat diet.' These dieters, when put on the gene-matched eating programs, seemed to have more success at losing weight over the course of one year, when compared to women that arbitrarily went on a diet.
Many scientists remain unconvinced. They feel it's the lifelong commitment to a calorie conscious diet that reflects portion control and healthy food choices most of the time, that will result in long term weight loss. On the other hand, many of us already know that we are "carboholics" and unable to control our intake of grain-based products. As one scientist asked, "Do we really need a gene test to tell us this?
Published On: May 07, 2010