BioQuakes

AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Tag: weight

Fat lies: Did you inherit your body?

While obesity is typically attributed to over eating and a lack of exercise, researchers at Kings College London have identified a type of gut bacteria, called Christensenellacae, which influences a person’s genetic makeup and body weight. The study focused on fecal samples from 416 pairs of twins. Of these participants, identical twins had a larger abundance of the gene microbe than fraternal twins suggesting that the bacteria is highly heritable. Furthermore, researchers found that Christensenallacae is most common in the intestines of lean people and in experiments with mice they determined that this microbe alone promoted thinner mice. Thus far, research results suggest that a person’s genes influence his body weight by determining the types of bacteria that live in his intestines and that altering the Christensenallacae population could have a direct impact on his susceptibility to obesity. This research gives a very important window into the study of obesity prevention and gut microbes. Although the information is groundbreaking, further studies need to be conducted to determine if altering levels of this gut microbe is actually effective.

As researchers continue to expand their study, how do you think this discovery will be used in the future to combat obesity?

weight loss by pixabay

weight loss by pixabay

Diet Tip #1: Hang Out with Skinny People and Go on a Low Calorie Diet

labrat

Microbiomes are incredibly vast and mysterious; we don’t quite know how they work. However, with a few experiments, we have come to a few conclusions.

1) Microbiomes determine your weight.

Scientists extracted bacteria from the intenstines of human twins, one lean and one larger. The injected these microbiomes into twin mice. The mouse who received the large twin’s microbiome gained fat and the mouse who received the lean twin’s microbiome remained small.

2) Fat microbiomes can be influenced by a skinny microbiome.

A fat mouse placed in a cage of skinny mice lost weight.*

3) Skinny microbiomes cannot be changed.

A skinny mouse placed in a cage of fat mice remained skinny.*

4) With the correct diet, you can become skinny.

Fat mice eating healthy food made them skinny but when they ate junk food, they stayed fat. A different group of scientists replicated this experiment with overweight humans and a low calorie diet. Their microbiotic diversity was low and increased significantly, leading to weight loss.

5) Diet does not affect skinny people.

Regardless of which diet the skinny mice ate, they stayed skinny. A different group of scientists replicated this experiment with skinny people and a low calorie diet. Their microbiotic diversity was already high and did not change much.

*read the full study here

Why?

Fat microbiomes tend to be more efficient at extracting nutrients from food and storing the excess, so whenever someone with an efficient microbiome eats, he/she stores a lot of the nutrients. Skinny microbiomes, on the other hand, are not as efficient at extracting nutrients so there is less energy to store after a meal. Going on a low calorie diet if you want to lose weight could solve the problem because whatever can be extracted from the food will be used for day to day functions. Considering that skinny people already are not extremely efficient at extracting nutrients, a low calorie diet will not necessarily cause any significant changes.

This source performed a study (humans) where they discovered that obese people typically have lower genetic diversity than lean people. Obese people who went on a low calorie diet had a higher genetic diversity at the end of the experiment than those who did not go on a low calorie diet, and obese people who continued to have a low genetic diversity gained significantly more weight over nine years. Lean people who went on a low calorie diet did not have a significant increase in microbiotic diversity compared to lean people who did not go on that diet. However, this correlation does not imply causation because some obese people have a high genetic diversity. Scientists believe that a low genetic diversity is linked to metabolic disorders, which could cause obesity, but that obesity in and of itself is not always caused by low genetic diversity.

Whenever you touch, breathe, or eat something, bacteria is entering your body and interacting with the native bacteria. So, when fat mice interact with skinny mice, it’s possible that the fat mice pick up diverse bacteria from skinny mice, contributing to their increase in microbiotic diversity, and when skinny mice interact with fat mice, they can’t lose genetic diversity but also have nothing really to gain from mice with low genetic diversity.

Conclusion: If you have a metabolic disorder, it could be beneficial to surround yourself with skinny people and eat low calorie foods because you’re more likely to absorb diverse types of bacteria while also storing less energy from food.

Dieting: Weight Loss Tool or Social Trend?

In today’s society, it is easy for us to assume that “going on a diet” is the cure for weight gain and can make you look and feel better. However, this is not necessarily the case.

Researchers have begun to counteract the common conception of diets, and how these beliefs are most likely misconceptions. Dr. David Katz, director of Yale Griffin Preventative Research Center is certain of the failure of diets, stating “Frankly, everyone falls off the wagon at 12 months, to say nothing of 24 months, and are gaining the weight back.”

In order to further evaluate this generalization, Dr. Mark Eisenberg of Jewish General Hospital/McGill University in Montreal, Canada conducted a study with his colleagues. He did this by studying the results of the four most advertised and popular diets, Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers, and the Zone.

Image by Pixabay

Image by Pixabay

This study involved the interpretation of data collected from populations that successfully initiated the diet. Those on the Weight Watchers diet lost an average of 6.6 pounds, those on the Atkins diet lost an average of 4.6 to 10.3 pounds, and those on the Zone diet lost an average of 3.5 to 7 pounds. Similarly, people with nutritional guidance or counseling lost about 4.85 pounds. However, in all four situations, the population gained back much of the weight between one and 5 years after beginning the diet.

In addition, these types of ways of life didn’t necessarily improve ones health, showing constant rates of cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels across the board. Inventors of diets such as the Zone and Weight Watchers defend their products as a “way of life” that people must stick with. However, additional opinions, including that of Linda Van Horn, an American Heart Association spokesperson, believe in the power of advertisements and social popularity that promotes the diets, not the promised results.

This article is interesting because is defies the commonly accepted myth of dieting, and how it can regress ones progress. Instead, it teaches us that moderation and healthy choices are key, rather than limiting oneself.

 

Article: http://www.nbcnews.com/health/diet-fitness/overcooked-baloney-diets-dont-work-long-review-shows-n246331

Image: http://pixabay.com/p-2354/?no_redirect

Additional Sources:

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/get-healthy/weight-loss/why-do-diets-stop-working

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathy-freston/weight-loss_b_1594441.html

http://www.readersdigest.ca/health/weight-loss/4-reasons-why-fad-diets-are-bad-you/

The New Way to Diet

The New Way to Diet 

Today, obesity is a global epidemic effecting millions if not billions of people world wide. Whether it be a few pounds or even a couple hundred pounds, there are countless people out there looking for a way to drop excess weight. Some they try dieting and altering what they eat and others revert to more serious methods, such as surgery. Recently a new procedure has been created that can help those suffering from obesity. Called  GECA or (gastric artery chemical embolization), this surgery can change the lives of millions of individuals.

* Click on image for link to flickr page

GECA is a surgery much safer than a liposuction that can literally make you less hungry  This relatively simple surgery is carried out by blocking off an artery that leads to the stomach. Doing this cuts off the blood supply to a certain section of the stomach that can produce the hormone called gherlin. This hormone controls our cravings to eat food and the sensation we call ‘hunger.’ Removing this hormone from our bloodstream would take away the desire to constantly eat. We would still be hungry, but just for less. With the desire to eat dissipating  one’s intake would go down and, with some exercise, the pounds would drop easily.

What do you think of this new procedure?

Source Article: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=168362

 

 

 

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