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Gut Bacteria May Explain Why Some People Don’t Lose Weight While Dieting

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There’s a new method in town to tell if a particular weight loss diet is effective for a person – checking the stool or waste, and gut bacteria.

Researchers found that sticking to the popular high-fiber diet may not work for everyone, Tech Times reports. This trend, called the New Nordic Diet, incorporates the traditional foods eaten in Nordic countries such as Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland.

The diet is rich in plant-based food like dark green vegetables, berries, root and cruciferous vegetables, apples and pears. It also includes fish and lean meats for protein. Wild foods such as garlic, mushroom and moss is encouraged, and contains less fat and sugar than what is found in the average Western diet.

Frank Hu, professor of nutrition of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said,

The Nordic diet is a healthy dietary pattern that shares many elements with the Mediterranean diet.

But Arne Astrup from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and a team of colleagues discovered that for the diet to be successful in weight loss, there has to be a specific combination of gut bacteria present.

According to the study, certain species of bacteria in the gut play a significant role in a person’s ability to lose and maintain weight. This is why the Nordic diet, or any high-fiber diet, does not always lead to weight loss.

The researchers randomly assigned 62 overweight volunteers to follow either the New Nordic Diet or the Average Danish Diet. They then took stool samples to divide the group into different gut bacteria groups. Half of the participants had a high ratio of Prevotella-to-Bacteroides while the other half had low ratios.

After 26 weeks, all the participants were asked to follow the New Nordic Diet for another year. Upon evaluation, the researchers found that the New Nordic Diet worked best for those with high levels of Prevotella – they lost an average of 3.15 kilograms more body fat.

The study was published in the International Journal of Obesity.

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