lizzieladie: (Default)
So I just heard a super cool piece on NPR about how bacteria in people's stomachs are responsible for breaking down food, and how the combination of the kind of bacteria you have and your diet basically determines how many calories you take in. Apparently some bacteria are better at breaking down certain kinds of foods than others, so you can have two people eating the same food in the same quantities and they could potentially get a different number of calories from that food. Thus, if you get the right bacteria in someone's stomach, they could eat loads and not gain weight. This is super cool science.

The thing article didn't talk about, that I'm very interested in, is the sensation of being full, and how that doesn't really have anything to do with the amount of food you put in your stomach. Do the bacteria play a role? Does the kind of bacteria maybe influence this? Is it actually better for people to be changing the bacteria in their stomach so that they're not using the food they get efficiently? Are there people who are getting less vitamins from eating right because their stomach isn't breaking down the food properly?

The other thing the article never talked about, which really bugged me, is the food crisis in certain parts of the world. Should we be looking at the bacteria in the stomachs of people in Africa and figuring out which kinds of food they get all or a lot of the calories from and trying to make those foods more accessible? The article did say that environment and region and the kind of bacteria that your mother has (because apparently there aren't bacteria in the uterus, so the first you get exposed to are in the milk you drink first) all affect what ends up in your large intestine.

Also, some crazy guy has found a fungus that releases what is essentially diesel fuel in certain circumstances. No idea what the full implications of this are, except that we should not be cutting down the rainforests too much, because there in lies really cool stuff.


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July 2012

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