Your gut bacteria determines your weight.

A new study shows that your gut bacteria have more say in how much you weigh than what you eat.[1]

The research team specifically examined visceral fat, which is a type of fat that surrounds your organs and makes you carry weight in your middle. Of the various types and locations of fat that your body has, visceral fat is the most dangerous to your health.

The researchers found out that the types of bacteria that you have in your gut predict how much visceral fat you carry, regardless of calorie intake.

Once again: regardless of calorie intake.

Next up in the order of what determines your weight is your intake of certain minerals and nutrients — still not total energy intake, or calories.

If you haven’t yet thrown out the calories in, calories out approach to weight loss, now would be a good time.

Until this study, it has been difficult for researchers to look at diet and gut microbes as separate, because they are so closely linked. What you eat feeds certain strains, and certain strains influence your cravings and food preferences. The researchers examined the effects of gut microbes, nutrients, and energy intake (calories) separately, then whether these things work synergistically to maintain a healthy weight.

Turns out, they do — minerals and vegetable fiber in particular work to grow healthy strains of gut bacteria that improve your insulin sensitivity and metabolism, which helps you burn fat faster.

These findings suggest that microbial therapy, whether through probiotics, prebiotics, or fecal transplants, could have a greater impact on weight loss than diet and exercise programs.

You don’t need expensive treatments to get your gut bacteria into balance. Here’s how to support your microbiome.