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Microbes make the meal, new diet book proposes

Researcher skewers conventional thinking about weight loss

By
11:00am, September 2, 2015
junk food

GUT BUDDIES  Diets rich in fast food can mess with people's gut bacteria. These microbes may play a bigger role in health problems such as obesity and diabetes than scientists once suspected.

The Diet Myth
Tim Spector
Overlook Press, $28.95

For 10 days, Tom Spector lived off McDonald’s. He had chicken nuggets or Big Macs for meals and McFlurries for dessert. Tom, a 22-year-old student, was re-creating a version of the diet made famous in the film Supersize Me. But Tom’s plan had a twist: Before and after the diet, he gave his dad some poop.

Tom’s father, Tim, wanted to see how the bacteria in Tom’s intestines dealt with junk food. Tim Spector, a genetic epidemiologist at Kings College London, thinks that the billions of bacteria in our guts may help explain health problems including obesity and allergies.

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