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Eating less than 800 calories a day favoured weight loss via hungry pathogens

Long-term safety of the diet is questionable as it alters the healthy gut microbiome


Key points from article :

Very-low-calorie diets can significantly alter the gut microbiome, leading to increased levels of Clostridioides difficile.

80 overweight and obese women were selected and monitored for 16 weeks.

Half of whom went on a very-low-calorie diet (800 calories per day in liquid form).

The group on diet lost weight, but there were also significant shifts in the gut bacteria.

"This diet profoundly altered the gut microbiome, including an overall decrease in gut bacteria," - Peter Turnbaugh, study co-author.

Transplanted fecal samples from five individuals who lost the most weight into mice engineered to have no microbiome.

Lost 10 percent of their total body mass on average.

Sequencing on the mouse microbiomes revealed the abundance of C. difficile.

This diet caused C. difficile to take up more sugars, leaving less for their hosts.

"..common weight loss diets might impact the microbiome and downstream consequences," - Turnbaugh.

Research by UCSF published in Nature.

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Scientific journal covering research from a variety of academic disciplines, mostly in science and technology

Peter Turnbaugh

Assistant Professor at Department of Microbiology and Immunology, UCSF

University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)

Public research university that is part of the University of California system and dedicated entirely to health science

Topics mentioned on this page:
Calorie Restriction, Microbiome