A study carried out by international researchers, which appeared in the April 29 issue of the Science Transnational Medicine journal, reveals a link between obesity and the various products of digestion.
The research analyzed urine samples of 2,324 British and American patients to find out how food products were digested by their bodies. The subjects also had a comprehensive biochemical map made by scientists after collecting full information from their records about their food intake, blood pressure, exercise routine and body parameters like body mass index (BMI).
The experts focused on the byproduct of digestion: the so called ‘metabolites’, molecules which were being explored for the first time in any study. The researchers reached the conclusion that out of two dozen metabolites, just nine could be associated to a high body mass index, which is a predictable measure of body fat.
Jeremy Nicholson, Head at the Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London and co-author of the study argued that almost half of these molecules were not associated with obesity until this research.
The study found that the nine “fatty” metabolites are being formed in the human gut, as a result of the microbes’ action who are involved in digestion. The experts said that more than five percent of obesity risk is caused by such microbes of the gut. Another metabolite, which is a byproduct of digestion of red meat was also proved to be linked to a high body mass index. On the other hand, the products from the breaking down and processing of citrus fruits was linked with a low body mass index.
However, the authors of the research suggested that obesity is happening as a result of a multitude of factors. Along with being caused by these gut molecules; obesity is mostly a disease which happens because of a specific lifestyle. Unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise are two of the main factors of increasing vulnerability to obesity. According to the scientists, genetics aren’t much to blame, only 1.4 percent of obesity risk being caused by it.
Obesity is defined as excessive fat accumulation that poses a risk to health. A rough population measure of obesity is the body mass index (BMI), which is a person’s weight divided by the square of his or her height, all measurements being taken in the metric system. A person with a body mass index of 30 or more is considered obese, while a BMI higher than 25 is considered overweight.
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