Recently scientists have discovered a connection between levels of abdominal body fat and the diversity of bacteria thriving in human fecal matter. Although it may seem surprising, these new findings seem to support the genetic influences which play a role in obesity. This seems to be the case due to the heritable bacteria that has recently been discovered in the fecal microbiome. Some argue that the connection may not be heritable, however, because the study conducted investigated twins who share many environmental factors.
In a study which was conducted by the King's College London, more than 1000 twins were studied and some groundbreaking findings were uncovered. The study was also published in Genome Biology, a journal. This is one of the biggest studies which has produced data indicating the connection between obesity and microbiome.
Those who had more bacterial diversity in their feces were found to have lower levels of fat, specifically visceral fat. The opposite was true for those with high levels of visceral fat who had less microbial diversity. Visceral fat is the fat which is stored around the stomach and close organs. This type of fat also bares the strongest connection to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other similar issues.
There is an obvious connection between markers of obesity and feces. At this point, it is not yet known how or why these bacteria could have an affect on how the body stores fat. There could even be a completely unique mechanism which is responsible for weight gain.
In the study, six different measures of obesity were compared and analyzed. Although upper to lower body fat ratios and body mass index were also looked at, the most obvious connection was with visceral fat. The way that gut bacteria may influence obesity seems to be coming to light and there are other studies underway regarding this very question. At this point, the study revealed that there is a link between visceral fat and microbiome, but much is still unknown. Exactly how these genes influence obesity, if they do, as other evidence could also suggest, is yet to be discovered.
One possible explanation is that when there is a greater degree of microbial diversity it leads to a dominance of specific species of bacteria which are capable of efficiently converting carbohydrates into fat. This is not proven, but it is a plausible possibility.
It could also be possible to improve the composition of bacteria and gut microbiome simply by changing your diet. Eating a wide diversity of whole foods could have a positive affect on the gut microbiome, but even if it doesn't there are obvious health benefits involved. Some evidence has indicated that changing your diet will lead to changes in the gut microbiome, good or bad, depending on the nature of the change. Studies have proved that our bodies and the gut microbiome within them will adapt and adjust depending on the type of diet one eats. Ultimately there may be more than one reason you should switch to a better diet rich in a diversity of whole foods.