Changes in gut bacteria could aid weight loss

19 November 2014

Dietary fibre can cause a shift in the gut toward beneficial bacteria, reducing the risk of colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases, a new study has found. 
The research from the University of Illinois (UI) revealed that two specific functional fibers may also enable better weight loss when included in a long-term, daily diet. 

Kelly Swanson, professor of nutrition at UI, and his team said this was a "snapshot" of bacteria in the gut when the diet had been supplemented with polydextrose and soluble corn fibre. Using whole-genome sequencing and the samples from the same trial, Dr Swanson analysed the entire range of bacterial genomic information after fibre supplements.

These findings are helping researchers discover more about what bacteria is capable of and the impact fibre can have on them.

Dr Swanson said. "We have already been able to identify what bacteria are there and the changes that occur with diet, and now we are asking if we can change the machinery or the capacity of what functions the bacteria have. Knowing what bacteria are there may matter, but it may not matter as much as identifying their function."

Posted by Edward Bartel


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