90% of the bacteria in our gut is made up of two major types: Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes. The populations of these two types of bacteria make up our F/B ratio.
The Firmicutes bacteria absorb more calories from our food than Bacteroidetes, AND trigger the storage of calories as fat. Bacteroidetes don’t absorb as many calories and allow more of the calories we do absorb to be burned for energy. The F/B ratio is actually considered to be a bio market for obesity.
In 2015, a Harvard study compared the stool samples of children from western Europe to those in rural Africa, where obesity is almost non existent. The children in western Europe had a much higher population of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes, a higher F/B ratio, as is common with our western diet. The children in rural Africa, whose diet includes a lot of vegetable fiber, had a much higher population of Bacteroidetes to Firmicutes, a lower F/B ratio.
The food that we eat has a direct influence on the type and strains of bacteria living in our gut. Generally, the Firmicutes flourish when the diet includes large amounts of sugar and starch. Bacteroidetes thrive when there is more vegetable fiber in the diet.
A low population of Bacteroidetes is also associated with gut permeability,or leaky gut, which leads to inflammatory compounds escaping the colon and being released into our bodies. These inflammatory compounds can cause disease and auto immune responses.
A diet loaded with non starchy vegetables feeds the bacteria we want living in our gut for the greatest health benefits, weight control and the avoidance of disease.
You can get my Food Comes First Diet, which includes a food list and a weeks worth of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks at this link: Food Comes First Diet.