Diet: Losing weight is also dependent on the intestinal flora

Diet: Losing weight is also dependent on the intestinal flora

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The key to losing weight can be in the gut

Studies in recent years have repeatedly shown that the composition of the microbial community in the intestine (intestinal microbiota / formerly: intestinal flora) has far-reaching effects on human health. A current study now shows how eating patterns affect the gut microbiome and what consequences this can have for weight loss.

The American Society of Nutrition points out that a diverse and robust microbial community in the colon is beneficial to human health. As numerous studies have shown, imbalances in the intestinal flora are associated with increased disease risks. The predominant form of nutrition affects and influences the microbial ecosystem in the intestine, which can have considerable consequences for the success in losing weight.

Nutrition patterns affect the intestinal flora

A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition examined the relationship between nutritional patterns and the composition of the gut microbiota. It was shown that long-term diets often cause a different composition of the gut microbiome.

Enterotypes in the gut

Since there are more than 100 trillion bacteria of many different types in the gut, researchers have divided the bacterial strains into groups. These so-called enterotypes can be used to determine the predominant type of bacteria, which in turn can have far-reaching effects on digestion and nutrient processing.

According to the researchers, a diet based on fiber and carbohydrates is more likely to lead to a Prevotella enterotype. A western-style high-fat diet, on the other hand, leads more to a Bacteroides enterotype.

Does the enterotype influence weight loss?

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have now examined the thesis whether a person's enterotype also affects weight loss. The team selected 46 overweight adults based on their intestinal flora for the study. It was tested whether people lose weight differently if they have a certain enterotype.

It was found that participants with Prevotella enterotype experienced greater weight loss when they were on a diet with high-fiber whole grain foods. In contrast, participants with the Bacteroides enterotype remained weight-stable. On the one hand, these results support the connection between the regular intake of fiber with the Prevotella frequency and, on the other hand, that weight loss through whole grains is easier if a Prevotella enterotype is present.

Not only the calories count when you lose weight

The researchers conclude that effective weight loss depends not only on calorie restriction, but also on a match between diet and microbial enterotype. The present enterotype can thus be seen as a promising biomarker in personalized nutrition and for the treatment of obesity. (vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Christensen L, Vuholm S, Roager HM, u.a .: Prevotella abundance predicts weight loss success in healthy, overweight adults consuming a whole-grain diet ad libitum: A post hoc analysis of a 6-wk randomized controlled trial. The Journal of Nutrition, 2019,
  • American Society of Nutrition: The key to weight-loss may be in the gut (accessed: December 29, 2019),

Video: 5 tips to keep your gut microbiome healthy. UCLA Health Newsroom (August 2022).