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Why Quitting Smoking Makes You Fat

Jeremy Hendon | February 20
Why Quitting Smoking Makes You Fat. (I've Never Smoked But Still Found This Surprising)

You might (hopefully) not be a smoker, but this recent study is still quite interesting and informative:. Note this is NOT an article suggesting you should or shouldn’t smoke! This article simply reports what a recent study found.

Smoking Cessation Induces Profound Changes in the Composition of the Intestinal Microbiota in Humans

Smoking Changes Your Gut Bacteria

Over the past several years, there have been a variety of interesting studies that have linked gut bacteria to obesity. In my opinion, the most interesting of these studies have shown that simply taking the gut bacteria of an obese mouse and transferring it to the gut of a non-obese mouse will make the non-obese mouse immediately start gaining a lot of weight.

In other words, the bacteria in your gut plays a very large role in obesity, as well as a variety of other aspects of health (immunity, inflammation, etc.). The continuing research on this issue is both fascinating and eye-opening.

The study above was a small one – focusing on only 20 people – but what they found was that once a person quits smoking, their gut bacteria starts changing pretty quickly.  And when that happens, the person starts gaining weight.

The researchers do not conclusively know why the gut bacteria changed in the way that it did, but it’s clear that it was a big factor in weight gain, as most of these people didn’t change their eating habits at all.

You should already be aware that your gut bacteria is pretty important to your overall health, but it may warrant even more attention.

If you’re trying to lose weight (or avoid gaining weight), it can be very important to make sure that you know how various foods affect your gut bacteria (fermentable fibers, FODMAPs, etc.). I’ll be talking more about this in the future, since I think it’s a critical issue, but a good and simple start for most folks is to reduce processed sugars and Omega-6 fats while increasing fermented foods like Kimchi, Sauerkraut, and Kefir.

Images: Copyright © Andrew Magill cc