Intestinal Microorganisms Might Contribute to Obesity
The New York Times Magazine on Sunday examined how intestinal microorganisms "might contribute to human physiology -- in particular, how they might make some people fat." According to NYT Magazine, intestinal microorganisms help "extract calories from the food we eat and help store those calories in fat cells for later use -- which gives them, in effect, a role in determining whether our diets will make us fat or thin."
Jeffrey Gordon, director of the Center for Genome Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, said, "A diet has a certain amount of absolute energy. But the amount that can be extracted from that diet may vary between individuals -- not in a huge way, but if the energy balance is affected by just a few calories a day, over time that can make a big difference in body weight." Gordon said that scientists likely will not determine how intestinal microorganisms function and interact with each other or whether they play a role in obesity for a number of years (Marantz Henig, New York Times Magazine, 8/13).