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A hypocaloric balanced diet intervention was associated with enhanced weight loss, which could be explained by diet-induced modifications in the gut microbiota.

Gut microbiota varies from person to person and has variable effects on host metabolism. In obese individuals, characteristic responses to various dietary patterns have been observed. Hence, it can be inferred that gut microbiota composition affects the microbial and metabolic outcomes associated with a hypocaloric balanced diet (HBD). 

This study, published in the journal Nutrients, investigated the gut microbiota and anthropometric outcomes of an HBD intervention in individuals with obesity.

Participant Characteristics 

A total of 43 Chinese participants were enrolled in the analysis. The participants’ mean age, weight, and height were 33.60 ± 8.44 years, 88.54 ± 13.33 kg, and 168.33 ± 6.64 cm, respectively. 

Intervention

In this study, samples of feces were collected from the participants both at the beginning (week 0) and after 12 weeks. These samples were then subjected to a comprehensive examination of the gut microbiota through a process involving 16S rRNA gene sequencing. The aim was to compare changes in both physical measurements and microbiota composition before and after implementing the high-protein balanced diet (HBD) intervention. 

To ensure consistency, all participants first underwent a 4-week preliminary phase involving dietary adjustments, aerobic activities, and resistance exercises. This was followed by a 12-week intervention phase focused on weight loss. The nutritional makeup of the HBD consisted of 24% protein, 37% fat, and 39% carbohydrate, with these proportions determined based on each participant’s individual basal metabolic rate.

Changes in the Anthropometric Measures and Blood Chemistry Parameters

There were no significant changes in weight loss, as represented by the study participants’ body mass index (BMI). The mean weight loss recorded after the intervention was 4.1%. Decreases in uric acid, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c), triglycerides, BMI, hip circumference, and waist circumference were recorded; however, only waist circumference, creatinine, and fasting blood glucose (FBG) decreased significantly. The success rate of weight loss was 44%, based on which, the participants were categorized into two groups: the effective HBD (EHBD) group and the ineffective HBD group (IHBD). 

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Anthropometric Measures and Blood Chemistry Parameters in EHBD and IHBD Groups

In the EHBD group, there was a significant increase in the levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) along with a significant decrease in albumin, creatinine, LDL-c, FBG, weight, BMI, waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, and alkaline phosphatase. However, in the IHBD group, only weight, HDL-c, and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) changed significantly following the intervention. 

Hypocaloric Balanced Diet and Changes in Gut Microbiota

Following the HBD intervention, there was an increase in the bacterial genera uniformity in the gut microbiota of the IHBD group and a decrease in that of the EHBD group. The significant alteration of microbiota genera in the EHBD group may indicate the effectiveness of the dietary intervention in individuals with obesity. 

In summary, nutritional intervention such as HBD influences the composition of the gut microbiota in obese individuals to make those genera dominant that are involved in regulating human metabolism. This results in improved weight loss. 

Source: 

Wang, H., Song, W., Yuan, W., Zhou, Q., Sadiq, F. A., Zhao, J., Wu, W., & Liu, W. (2023). Modulating the Human Gut Microbiota through Hypocaloric Balanced Diets: An Effective Approach for Managing Obesity. Nutrients, 15(14), 3101. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15143101