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Yoghurt drinks could beat bugs that pile the weight on

Published by Waleed Fakhroo on November 12, 2009

Bugs that live in our stomachs could be causing us to get fat, research suggests.

Scientists have shown that the type of bugs in our gut change depending on the food we eat. And bacteria that thrives on junk food may make it easier for us to pile on the pounds.

The discovery, by U.S. scientists, suggests that bugs found in the digestive tract are helping fuel the obesity epidemic.

The research could also open the way to designing probiotic yoghurts similar to Yakult (pictured) to combat weight gain.

The link between bugs and weight gain was discovered when the researchers gave mice ‘transplants’ of bugs among the trillions normally found in the human gut. A junk food binge rapidly altered the make-up of the bugs, with some types thriving and others struggling to survive.

To study the effect of the changes, the researchers from Washington University in Missouri, took stomach bugs from mice fed fatty food and injected them into lean mice.

These mice rapidly put on weight, despite being fed low-fat foods, the journal Science Translational Medicine reports.

It is thought that stomach bugs that thrive when we eat fatty foods affect metabolism, leading to more fat being stored.

In future, probiotic drinks or supplements designed to boost numbers of the bugs that prefer healthier foods could help keep us trim.

Harvard University obesity expert Jeffrey Flier said that many factors contribute to obesity and it is important to find new ways of combating them.

He wrote: ‘The gut microbiome (population of bacteria) seems poised to serve as such a promising new scientific platform. It is important, however, to keep this new knowledge in perspective.’

( source: dailymail )

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