FFE Magazine

French study links obesity to bacteria

by FFE EU News staff

According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Agricultural Research (INRA) based in Paris, the low count of a certain kind of “good” bacteria in the gut is a possible cause of obesity. The study was carried out in both France and Denmark and was published in the scientific journal Nature.


The study revealed that a lower bacteria count in the intestinal flora made people susceptible to obesity. Good bacteria help digest food and fight bad bacteria. According to professor Dusko Erlich, the coordinator of the study, “If you have less good bacteria, the risk of developing serious illnesses such as diabetes or cardiovascular problems is a lot higher.”


He also said that the results are significant because “we think that if we manage to replace these bacteria, it could help prevent excessive weight gain.” However, he also said that scientists have yet to discover how to cultivate the bacteria.


The study was conducted on 123 non-obese and 169 obese Danish respondents. Researchers discovered that those who had a greater number of good bacteria in their intestines had greater resistance to diseases like diabetes. Obese people who had less bacteria also had the tendency to put on more weight than obese people who had more intestinal bacteria.


A second study published in the same journal showed that a diet rich in fibre, fruit and vegetables over 12 weeks could improve intestinal flora and increase good bacteria in the gut, reducing health complications linked to obesity. This supports a previous research saying that changes in the diet affects the bacteria on the gut.





Obesity is a top concern for Western countries. In a report by French TV station Europe 1, an estimated 500 million people were obese in 2005, and the number is expected to rise to 700 million by 2015.



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