Weight loss diet: Why your poo holds the secret to the best healthy foods for YOU

Stools - more commonly known as poo - could indicate whether your healthy diet is helping you slim down, or if it’s a waste of time.

Previous research by the Food4Me project has found that not everyone can lose weight on the same standard healthy eating regime of lots of fruit, vegetables, fibres and whole grains. 

The NHS recommend everyone eats five fruit and vegetables a day, bases their meals on starchy foods and eats some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein.

However, a growing body of evidence suggests that personalised nutrition, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, could help combat obesity - and your poo could one day help point doctors in the right direction.

Indeed, researchers at the University of Copenhagen found that stools contain bacteria which could reveal how people might best be able to lose weight.

“Human intestinal bacteria have been linked to the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity, and scientists have started to investigate whether the intestinal bacteria can play a role in the treatment of overweight,” said Professor Arne Astrup, from the University of Copenhagen.

“But it is only now that we have a breakthrough demonstrating that certain bacterial species play a decisive role in weight regulation and weight loss.”

In the study, they focused on two groups of intestinal bacteria - Prevotella bacteria and Bacteroides bacteria.

It was discovered that people with a high proportion of Prevotella bacteria in relation to Bacteroides bacteria lost 3.5 kg more in 26 weeks when they followed the New Nordic Diet which contains a lot of fruit, vegetables, fibre and whole grains.

This was compared to when eating an average Danish diet.

However, those with a low proportion of Prevotella bacteria in relation to Bacteroides  did not lose any extra weight on this diet.

Roughly 50 percent of the population of Denmark has a high proportion of Prevotella-bacteria in relation to Bacteroides-bacteria.

"The study shows that only about half of the population will lose weight if they eat in accordance with the Danish national dietary recommendations and eat more fruit, vegetables, fibers and whole grains,” said Assistant Professor Mads Fiil Hjorth, from the University of Copenhagen.

“The other half of the population doesn't seem to gain any benefit in weight from this change of diet.

“These people should focus on other diet and physical activity recommendations until a strategy that works especially well for them is identified."

According to the researchers, the findings have been confirmed in two independent studies.

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