A study presented as part of the scientific program of the American Society for Nutrition (reported here ) earlier this year revealed that altering the make-up of the intestinal microbiota in rats can lead to changes in dietary habits.
Speaking at the ASN Dr Mihai Covasa from the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) said obese people tend to have different gut microbe profiles than lean individuals.
The team suggested that some bacteria commonly found in obese individuals could metabolise food differently – in a way that allows the individuals to harvest more energy, and deposit this energy as fat.
"These results demonstrate the ability of the gut microbiota to modulate host metabolism, by altering both intestinal nutrient sensing and energy-storing signalling pathway information, and ultimately contributing to the obese state,” the team said.
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