25 January 2016

Is calorie counting over? Part II

Our microbiota is responsible for the extraction of calories and therefore energy from the food we ingest (more about this here).

This calorie intake will depend on how our small intestine is working but also on the type of microbes that have settled in our large intestine which will help digest the indigestible bits of food.

The diversity in micro-organism species we are harbouring will depend on the diet that our body is used to. For someone who is not used to eating a cookie, his bugs will extract less calories than bugs hosted by a person who loves his one cookie-a-day' (Read Part I).

It’s not how much but how well you eat that will determine your in/out calorie traffic – Would you like to tweet this?

But what happens next to these extra calories depends on a different set of processes with different objectives:


Indeed, what we eat can be either used immediately (brain food, muscle energy, or in time of cold weather to keep us warm) or stored for later use, you know… in case of famine and shortage of food…

What determines the faith of our calorie trafficking will depend on various factors including gene switching.

When we talk about genes, we automatically think about something we inherit from our parents. But the reality is that, it is also not the complete story as genes can be turned on and turned off, notably by our own body-controlled signals. What is now known, however, is that our gut microbiota can also contribute to this gene modulation.

Our gut microbiota influences genes responsible for the conversion of energy into fat – Would you like to tweet this?

Unfortunately for the cookie lover, the genes responsible for the transformation of energy into fats are hyper-activated i.e. the cookie lover doesn’t only extract more calories out of his cookie, but his body also tells him to store it as fat.

That is because in obesity the rules and regulations of energy storage are fundamentally changed.

Although microbiota has an influence, which I will hopefully fully explore later, there are many more on and off switchings that contribute to this whole disease – many known, but many more so unknown…

That is why sudden exercise and a healthy diet are just not enough to control a healthy weight!

Did you know the bugs inside your gut control your calorie intake? Do you like your one-a-day cookie?
I certainly do
Winking smile

If you’d like to share your thoughts, feel free to leave me a comment, I’d love to read them.


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My bugs and I Published @ 2014 by Ipietoon