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How Gut Bacteria Affects Your Weight: Factory-Farmed (CAFO) Products Are Damaging Your Health

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Health Issues page and our Cafo's vs. Free Range page.

 Recent studies have repeatedly demonstrated that the makeup of your intestinal flora can have an impact on your weight, and your propensity to gain or lose weight.

 Most recently, research also suggests that as much as 20 percent of the substantial weight loss achieved from gastric bypass, a popular weight loss surgery, is actually due to shifts in the balance of bacteria in your digestive tract. According to co-author Dr. Lee M. Kaplan:

     "The findings mean that eventually, treatments that adjust the microbe levels, or 'microbiota,' in the gut may be developed to help people lose weight without surgery."

Gut Microbes May Be Behind Weight Loss After Gastric Bypass

 To investigate the potential link between gastric bypass surgery and alterations in gut flora, fattened-up mice were divided into two groups. The test group underwent gastric bypass surgery while the control group received sham surgery. After the sham surgery, the controls were further divided into two groups: One received a fatty diet; the other a weight-loss diet.

 In the test group, the microbial populations quickly changed following surgery, and the mice lost weight. In the control group, the gut flora didn't change much, regardless of their diet. After the bypass surgery, the test group was found to have more of certain types of microbes, including:

• Gammaproteobacteria, particularly Escherichia species, which can help prevent inflammation and maintain intestinal health, although some species of Escherichia are pathogenic     

• Akkermansia bacteria, which can feed on mucus found in your intestines

 According to the featured article:

     "Next, the researchers transferred intestinal contents from each of the groups into other mice, which lacked their own intestinal bacteria. The animals that received material from the bypass mice rapidly lost weight; stool from mice that had the sham operations had no effect."

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