Some guts are better than others at harvesting energy
Published:18 Jan.2023    Source:University of Copenhagen - Faculty of Science
New research from the University of Copenhagen suggests that a portion of the Danish population has a composition of gut microbes that, on average, extracts more energy from food than do the microbes in the guts of their fellow Danes. The research is a step towards understanding why some people gain more weight than others, even when they eat the same.
 
Unfair as it, some of us seem to put on weight just by looking at a plate of Christmas cookies, while others can munch away with abandon and not gain a gram. Part of the explanation could be related to the composition of our gut microbes. This, according to new research conducted at the University of Copenhagen's Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports.
 
Researchers studied the residual energy in the faeces of 85 Danes to estimate how effective their gut microbes are at extracting energy from food. At the same time, they mapped the composition of gut microbes for each participant.
 
The results show that roughly 40 percent of the participants belong to a group that, on average, extracts more energy from food compared to the other 60 percent. The researchers also observed that those who extracted the most energy from food also weighed 10 percent more on average, amounting to an extra nine kilograms.
 
"We may have found a key to understanding why some people gain more weight than others, even when they don't eat more or any differently. But this needs to be investigated further," says Associate Professor Henrik Roager of the University of Copenhagen's Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports.