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High-sugar diet alters intestinal bacteria, making losing weight more difficult

A report published in the new journal Science Translational Medicine has made an interesting discovery concerning the relationship between sugar intake and the balance of intestinal flora. Researchers have discovered that a diet high in sugar and fat substantially alters the bacterial composition in the gut, making it difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

Dr. Jeffrey Gordon of Washington University in St. Louis has been accumulating research for years that highlights the role intestinal bacteria plays in regulating bodily weight. Intestinal flora, sometimes called "good" bacteria, is vital for the proper digestion of food and assimilation of nutrients into the blood. When digestive bacteria is out of balance or otherwise altered, the body is unable to convert otherwise indigestible foods into digestible form.

The research, conducted on mice, experimented with implanting various strains of bacteria into mice in order to observe their effects. The two primary divisions of bacteria, Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes, compose approximately 90 percent of all bacteria. Studies by Dr. Gordon have revealed that Firmicutes bacteria are more efficient at digesting food that the body is unable to digest on its own.

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