Your stools reveal whether you can lose weight, new research suggests.
People cannot shed the pounds without a specific bacteria in their faeces, even if they eat a healthy diet, a study found.
Having low levels of the bacteria Prevotella in the trial’s participant’s stools prevented them from losing weight regardless of whether they were consuming fruits and vegetables or heavy, rich food and sweets, the research adds.
Only around 50 per cent of people are thought to have sufficient Prevotella levels in their gut, the study found. Prevotella is associated with plant-based diets – one that is abundant in fruit, vegetables, leafy greens, seeds, nuts, beans and lentils with little or no animal products.
However change in bacteria will not happen overnight and will take months.
Previous research suggests Prevotella may aid weight loss by influencing fat storage and how people respond to hunger hormones.
Study author Professor Mads Fiil Hjorth from the University of Copenhagen, said: ‘The study shows that only about half of the population will lose weight if they eat more fruit, vegetables, fibres and whole grains. The other half of the population doesn’t seem to gain any benefit in weight from this change of diet.’
Your stools reveal whether you can lose weight, new research suggests (stock image)
WHAT FOODS INCREASE PREVOTELLA LEVELS?
Prevotella is a type of bacteria associated with plant-based diets.
To increase their levels, people should eat:
- Whole grains, such as brown rice and oats
- Pulses, including beans, lentils and peas
- Nuts and seeds
People cannot lose weight without certain bacteria
The researchers analysed 62 people with an increased waist circumference over 26 weeks.
Of these, half ate a diet rich in whole grains and fibre, while the remainder consumed typical Danish cuisine. This includes red meat and confectionery.
Results reveal that eating a fibre-rich diet causes an average weight loss of 7.7lb (3.5kg), compared to 3.7lb (1.7kg) when having more traditional Danish cuisine.
When the study’s participants were divided according to their intestinal bacteria, those with high levels of the strain Prevotella lost 3.5kg more when following the healthier diet.
Those with lower amounts of Prevotella did not lose weight even when eating high amounts of whole grains and fibre.
Only around 50 per cent of people are thought to have high Prevotella levels.
The findings were published in the International Journal of Obesity.
Only half of people lose weight if they eat well
WHY A VEGETARIAN DIET GUARANTEES WEIGHT-LOSS SUCCESS
Dieters who follow a vegetarian eating plan lose nearly twice as much weight as calorie-restricting meat eaters, research revealed in June.
Cutting 500 calories a day and adopting a plant-based diet results in an average weight loss of 13.67lbs (6.2kg) after six months, compared to 7.05lbs (3.2kg) in meat eaters, a study found.
Researchers believe this may be due to vegetarian diets changing our fat storage and insulin sensitivity, as well as making us feel more energized, which encourages people to stick to their eating plan.
Lead author Dr Hana Kahleova from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington DC, said: ‘A diet built around plants is naturally rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, which leaves us feeling energized and refreshed instead of hungry and fatigued.
‘Part of the reason a vegetarian diet works so well for many people is because it’s easy to stick to.’
Prevotella is associated with plant-based diets made up of abundant fruits and vegetables; whole grains; pulses; nuts and seeds, with little or no animal products.
It can take months of adopting a particular diet before gut bacteria levels begin to change.
Previous research suggests the bacteria may aid weight loss by altering fat storage and how people respond to hormones that cause hunger.
Professor Fiil Hjorth said: ‘The study shows that only about half of the population will lose weight if they eat more fruit, vegetables, fibres and whole grains.
‘The other half of the population doesn’t seem to gain any benefit in weight from this change of diet.
‘These people should focus on other diet and physical activity recommendations until a strategy that works especially well for them is identified.’
Experts hope identifying such bacteria biomarkers will help doctors come up with personalised weight-loss approaches for patients.
Professor Fiil Hjorth added: ‘This is a major step forward in personalized nutritional guidance.
‘Guidance based on this knowledge of intestinal bacteria will most likely be more effective than the “one size fits all” approach that often characterises dietary recommendations and dietary guidance.’