Despite effective weight-reduction strategies, individuals fail to maintain the reduced weight. The mechanisms that underlie the weight-cycling-induced phenomena and the influence of the gut microbiota are not well understood. Thaiss et al. used mouse models of weight loss and recurrent obesity and found that obesity-induced alterations to the microbiome persist over long periods of time and enhance the rate of weight gain during secondary metabolic challenge. In addition, low flavonoid levels in post-dieting mice were shown to contribute to the increased weight regain, whereas their therapeutic replenishment ameliorated this susceptibility. The authors propose a model whereby a high-fat diet promotes the growth of flavonoid-metabolizing bacteria, which, in turn, decrease the amount of bioavailable flavonoids, thereby negatively regulating energy expenditure and promoting exaggerated recurrent weight gain.
Thaiss, C. A. et al. Persistent microbiome alterations modulate the rate of post-dieting weight regain. Nature http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature20796 (2016)
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Du Toit, A. Weight loss without the yo-yo effect. Nat Rev Microbiol 15, 2 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrmicro.2016.189