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Ex-smokers: intestinal flora produces weight gain

Ex-smokers: intestinal flora produces weight gain

Those who quit smoking get a few extra pounds on the ribs

According to the German Cancer Research Center Heidelberg (DKFZ), smokers weigh an average of 3.5 kilos less than non-smokers. In other words, people who have just given up smoking can expect an average weight gain of around 4.5 kg. Especially in the beginning, the body reacts with a proper weight gain. This effect can be observed more strongly in women than in men. Weight gain tends to be underestimated, some researchers say. But you do not have to worry about it, because it is not a rapid increase in face.

More weight with fewer calories It is not fully understood why this weight gain occurs. One assumption is that ex-smokers would increasingly use sweets as a replacement and the portions that one consumed would increase enormously. Another argument is that nicotine greatly reduces appetite. These assumptions are widespread and certainly cannot be dismissed out of hand. But it has now emerged that ex-smokers still put on extra pounds, even though they consume fewer calories than before. As a result, smoking leads to an increased metabolism. "Smokers have a higher energy consumption than non-smokers," says nutritionist Ursel Wahrburg from Münster University of Applied Sciences. "You burn 200 to 250 more calories a day."

Adrenaline responsible for reduced weight It looks like smokers are producing more adrenaline. The so-called sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the production of the stress hormone, seems to work more intensively. It is also suspected that more energy is needed for digestion and the absorption of nutrients.

New insights thanks to research Now medical doctor Gerhard Rogler and his team at the Clinic for Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University Hospital Zurich have found that nicotine withdrawal has a huge impact on the intestinal flora. You have noticed that certain strains of bacteria multiply rapidly, while others wither to the same extent.

For the tests, Rogler and his team analyzed stool samples for nine weeks. It was based on samples from five non-smokers, five smokers and ten people who had stopped smoking a week before the study started. The main difference was that the intestinal flora of the non-smokers and that of the smokers remained unchanged within the nine weeks.

In the subjects who had just given up smoking, however, there was a change in the bacterial strains Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes. These in turn displaced microbes from the Firmicutes and Actinobacteria strains.

As a result, this means that bacteria prevail, which can also be found in the intestinal flora of obese people. "These bacteria can digest food better and give the body more calories, which is then reflected in fat deposits," said Rogler. So far, the scientists have not been able to find out whether and how long these changes in the intestinal flora last. “I assume that in the long term we can have a beneficial effect on the intestinal flora in order to limit weight gain. However, I don't think such a probiotic will be available in the short term. The processes in the intestinal flora are far too complex for that, ”explains the researcher.

So what can you do to avoid putting on too much weight? Eating fruits and vegetables, says nutritionist Wahrburg. “Eat things you can eat a lot of, fruits and vegetables. They ensure a well-filled stomach. Because gastric stretching is our most important satiety. So drinking water also helps. You have something in your mouth and later in your stomach, that reduces the feeling of hunger. ”(Fr)

Image: Oli Müller / pixelio.de

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