High-protein diet or antibiotics may prevent post-dieting obesity

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A high-protein diet or specific antibiotics that inhibit the growth of intestinal Lactobacillus may prevent rapid fat accumulation and obesity after dieting, according to a study led by Prof. Zhai Qiwei from the Shanghai Institute of Nutrition and Health of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The study was published in Nature Metabolism.

What Did the Study Involve?

The researchers used ten dieting protocols to study the impact of post-diet “refeeding” on fat accumulation in mice.

They fed the mice high-protein, low-protein, or normal-protein diets supplemented with essential amino acids during the post-dieting phase.

They also conducted tests on germ-free (GF), gnotobiotic (GB), and specific-pathogen free (SPF) mice, along with analyzing the composition of the mice’s intestinal microbiota.

What Were the Findings?

The study found that refeeding after dieting resulted in quick fat accumulation and obesity, primarily due to enhanced intestinal lipid absorption, increased lipid anabolism in white adipose tissue (WAT), and decreased total lipid oxidation.

However, a high-protein diet following dieting prevented this rapid fat accumulation and even maintained some of the fat loss achieved through dieting.

Researchers also found that a high-protein diet after dieting lowered the levels of bile acids in the intestine and serum, reduced intestinal lipid absorption, and increased total lipid oxidation.

In terms of intestinal microbiota, refeeding with a normal-protein diet after dieting dramatically increased the abundance of Lactobacillus by about 50%.

The Lactobacillus bacteria isolated, identified as Lam-1, was found to be highly sensitive to penicillin.

Treating the mice with penicillin significantly inhibited the growth of Lam-1, reduced intestinal lipid absorption, and decreased body fat accumulation after dieting.

Why is This Important?

These findings suggest that a high-protein diet or antibiotics that target Lactobacillus could be an effective strategy to prevent rapid weight gain after dieting, a common problem for many dieters.

In Conclusion

The study provides evidence that refeeding after dietary restriction contributes to obesity, and offers new insights into the role of diet composition, the intestinal microbiota, and antibiotics in preventing weight gain after dieting.

The study was published in Nature Metabolism.

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