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Ok, this is an interesting observation:

"After 9 weeks on the WTP diet, this Enterobacter population in the volunteer's gut reduced to 1.8%, and became undetectable by the end of the 23-week trial"

So the thesis is that this bacteria lives in obese people's gut, and it makes them more obese. But once they diet to a point where they are not obese, the bacteria dies off? I wonder if they are going to try a diet + anti-biotic treatment, diet + placebo trial on two obese patients to see if it improves their chances to get back into a regular balance.

For people who didn't read the summary - that patient who lost 30kg and reduced their bacteria population was on anti-biotics. So, right, it would be interesting to see if that bacteria reduces without the anti-biotics.

But before you think the researchers left a big hole in their research, remember that the addition of bacteria makes mice obese. Now if we could just try that on humans...

edit: As pdx points out below, not antibiotics, pre-biotics. Big difference.

The patient was not on antibiotics, he was on prebiotics. So, this is something you could do yourself without a doctors cooperation.

The WTP diet is described as 'whole grains, traditional Chinese medicine and prebiotics'. Perhaps there's an active ingredient in the traditional medicine (e.g. an antibiotic occurring in plants)?

Also, a lot of spices have antibiotic properties, and some oils. Food and its impact on health is more chemically complex than most people seem to realize.

No antibiotics were involved but the WTP diet consisted of 1344Cal daily diet of canned porridge (. . ."4 cans of gruel per day" . . .) - Quoted from 'Supplimental Material' to the original study publication http://www.nature.com/ismej/journal/vaop/ncurrent/extref/ism.... But, there is absolutely no specific information as to the actual ingredients of the "porridge/gruel" so there seems to be no way to actually repeat this research or try the diet individually.

So they basically put him on a strict low calorie diet, and he lost weight? No way!

Please stop oversimplifying. With the existence of the bacteria, mice were obese. By means of their diet and prebiotics, they were able to reduce the levels of this bacteria in their subject.

Could be just the caloric deficit, could be the bacteria. It's an interesting correlation and should be explored further.

I have just finished reading the entire report including the supplement. It seems that the reason this bacteria was killed off is that the diet changed the pH balance in the gut. The report mentions "Bitter Melon" as killing the bacteria (Supplementary Figure 1. Bitter melon markedly modulated the human gut microbiota in in vitro experiment) Supplementary document, page 33. I couldn't find an exact reason for the subject taking the pre-biotics but I would suspect that it is to help re-colonize the gut with 'good' bacteria.

But once they diet to a point where they are not obese, the bacteria dies off?

I believe the theory is the reverse - by killing off the bacteria, the person becomes less obese.

Anti-biotics probably won't work as well as you hope because they kill all the bacteria in the gut - good and bad - which will just create more digestive problems.

Poop transplants. Sounds gross, but can apparently work.

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