A study presented yesterday at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) Conference in Maryland, suggests that a high-fat, low-fiber diet could slow metabolism and increase the risk of obesity by disrupting bacteria in the gut.
The study, published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, revealed that the bacteria in the human gut exhibit their own circadian cycle, which is a 24-hour cycle that responds primarily to day and night in an organism’s environment and affects physical, mental, and behavioral changes, according to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences website.
“One of the interesting things this work has shown is that changes in the diet induce changes in day versus night activity of the gut microbes,” said the study’s lead author, Vanessa Leone, at the University of Chicago in a press release. “If you feed a mouse a high-fat, Western-style diet you get a change in the gut’s microbial community as well as disrupt the microbial circadian rhythms.”
The study consisted of two groups: One group of mice consumed a high-fat, low-fiber diet and another consumed a standard low-fat, high-fiber diet. After five weeks, the high-fat group gained 20 percent of their body weight and the gut microbes that showed to have a circadian rhythm decreased from 15 percent to 5 percent.
The disruption of the rhythm of the gut microbes caused changes in other parts of the body, such as the liver, which has critical metabolic functions in the body. This change slowed the metabolism of the high-fat animal group, which could lead to diet-induced obesity.
These findings call into question recent efforts to exonerate butter and other fats as agents of weight gain.