It's well known that there is great individual variation in bacteria in the gut. Genetics, foods, antibiotics and other factors can cause change in that bacteria. Bacteria help to break down food and produce various types of gas, such as hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane. Different people will produce different types of gas.This is, quite obviously, terrible news for sanctimonious fat-shaming thin people, as it potentially deals a terrible blow to their precarious conviction of moral superiority which is carefully maintained almost exclusively via a reliance on shouting "CALORIES IN! CALORIES OUT!" at fatties.
Dr. Mark Pimentel and his colleagues at Cedars gave 58 people a breath test to measure methane gas. About 20% of the participants tested positive for methane. Those people also had a body mass index up to 7 points higher than patients who did not show the presence of methane. It's possible that methane from methane-producing gut bacteria can slow down digestion and increase the uptake of calories, the authors said. The study was presented Wednesday at the Digestive Disease Week annual meeting in New Orleans.
Other studies are hinting at this connection too. An interesting story in Thursday's issue of MIT Technology Review, "You are your bacteria," discusses the role of gut bacteria variation among individuals and how that bacteria can be altered and play a role in disease.
It is, however, good news for everyone with a passing interest in a fact-based reality.