'Counting calories is a waste of time '
The counting of calories is a waste of time, writes Professor Tim Spector from the University of London King's College, a leading expert in the field of genetics in his new book, who found evidence pointing to the fact that a diets engaged in summing up calories can not have a long-term success. According to his theory, the only successful method of weight loss lies in the combination of proper nutrition and exercise.
After more than twenty years of scientific work with 11,000 twins, Spector found that the calorie intake is not the most important with weight gain, but there are crucial stomach bacteria that have a huge impact on our health.
One of the leading scientists who study the bacteria that live in the human stomach believes that these microorganisms have a huge impact on our health and our mood, and that today's modern diet has a negative impact on them.
For example, identical twins will, after six weeks on a high calorie diet have totally different changes in weight. Some got up to 13 kg, while others less than 4 kg, and everyone ate alike.
It is clear that calories are not the only factor. So, what happens? Professor Spector believes that the key is the bacteria in our digestive system.
Microbes are essential in our digestion. They also control the calories you consume and provide basic enzymes and vitamins and maintain the health of our immune system - says Spector.
Gastric microbes are also associated with cardiovascular health, risk of diabetes and mental health. In his book 'The Dieth Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat', "Spector says that we could, along with proper diet and exercise, change the bacteria in our stomach, to live healthy and be skinny.
He also believes that the bacteria can be responsible for much of the obesity epidemic and the root of the problem, he says, lies in the modern diet and its impact on the bowels.
Compared with our ancestors, we have only a fraction of the various microbial species that live in our intestines. Our ancestors knew eat up to 150 different foods per week while people today are on average consume about 20 foods or less, and most of them are processed.
To demonstrate the impact of modern diets on stomach bacteria, his 22-year-old son Tom helped, who as part of the research ten days only ate fast junk food - burgers, sweet desserts and soft drinks. By the sixth day, Tom was feeling bloated and sluggish until the eighth day sweating after meals and at that time almost gained two kilograms of fat.
But still, there was even a worse effect on his stomach bacteria - about 40 percent of them died, and the bacteria that survived were mostly those that had a bad effect on health.
Further experiments on gastric bacteria in mice have shown that the transfer of microbes from one mouse to another can affect their weight gain or loss. Unfortunately, the exact ratio of the types of bacteria necessary for thinness are still unknown when it comes to people, but research is still ongoing.
Spector is convinced that reducing the diversity of food that enters the body reduces the diversity of bacteria in the stomach that are essential for our health. At the beginning, exercise alone can begin working on increasing the number of good stomach bacteria. Except for the stomach, exercise is good for the heart and brain, and the good news is, that a good stomach bacteria prefer dark chocolate.