Biomarkers Predict Weight Loss, Suggest Personalized Diets

Summary: Reducing calories and exercising alone isn’t enough to shed extra pounds, according to a new study report. Researchers report that your gut bacteria and the amount of specific proteins your body produces affect your ability to lose weight and maintain weight loss. Depending on personal biomarkers, people lose more weight on a low-carb diet, while others lose more on a low-fat diet.

Source: Stanford

A new analysis of data from a one-year weight loss study identified behaviors and biomarkers that contribute to short- and long-term weight loss.

For the first six months, strict adherence to a healthy low-carb or healthy low-fat diet was important for short-term weight loss. But people who maintained long-term weight loss for one year consumed the same number of calories as those who gained or did not lose weight in the second six months.

So what explains this difference?

According to research, the bacteria living in your gut and the amounts of certain proteins your body makes can affect your ability to maintain weight loss. And it turns out that some people lose more weight with low-fat diets, while others do better with low-carb diets.

Stanford Medicine researchers have identified several biomarkers that predict how successful an individual will be in losing weight and losing weight over the long term. These biomarkers include signatures of the gut microbiome, proteins made by the human body, and levels of exhaled carbon dioxide.

The researchers published their findings. Cell Reports Medicine on the 13th of December.

“Weight loss is enigmatic and complex, but with microbiome and metabolic biomarkers we can predict from the start who will lose the most weight and who will keep it off,” said Michael Snyder, chair and professor of genetics and research. – senior writer on paper.

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Willpower does not provide weight loss

The data came from 609 participants who recorded everything they ate for one year while following a low-fat or low-carb diet consisting mostly of high-quality, minimally processed foods. The researchers tracked the participants’ exercise, how well they followed their diet, and the number of calories consumed.

The study showed that simply cutting calories or exercising is not enough to maintain weight loss for a year. The team focused on biomarkers of metabolism to try to understand why.

“At the beginning of the research period – before people started dieting – we found specific microbiome ecologies and protein and enzyme amounts that indicate whether they will be successful in losing and losing weight,” said research dietitian Dalia Perelman. co-author on paper.

Throughout the study, the researchers measured the ratio of exhaled oxygen to exhaled carbon dioxide.

A lower ratio means the body burns more fat, while a higher ratio means it burns more carbohydrates. Thus, those who started the diet with a higher respiratory quotient lost more weight on a low-carb diet.

“There are people who can eat very few calories but maintain their weight because of the way their bodies metabolize fuels. It’s not because of a lack of will: That’s how their bodies work,” Perelman said.

In other words, if your body prefers carbohydrates and you’re mainly eating fat, it will be much harder to metabolize and burn those calories.

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According to research, the bacteria living in your gut and the amounts of certain proteins your body makes can affect your ability to maintain weight loss. Image is in the public domain

Ph.D. “If you’re following a diet that works for someone you know and it doesn’t work for you, this particular diet may not be for you,” Xiao Li added. The paper is a former postdoctoral fellow at Stanford Medicine and now at Case Western University.

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Focus on food for now

Predictive information gleaned from the gut microbiome, proteomic analysis, and respiratory segment signatures lay the foundation for personalized diets. Snyder said he thinks monitoring the amounts of certain strains of gut microbes would be a way for people to determine which diets are best for weight loss.

We haven’t gotten to that point yet, so we should focus on eating high-quality foods that haven’t been processed until then and are low in refined flour and sugar.

The research team identified certain nutrients that were associated with weight loss during the first six months. Low-carb diets should be based on monounsaturated fats, such as those from avocados rather than bacon, and high in vitamins K, C, and E. These vitamins are found in vegetables, nuts, olives and avocados. Low-fat diets should be high in fiber, such as those found in whole grains and beans, and avoid added sugars.

“Your mindset should be on what you can include in your diet rather than what you exclude,” Perelman says. Said.

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“Instead of thinking you shouldn’t eat ice cream, learn to eat more fiber from beans, whole grains, nuts or vegetables. Learn to cook and rely less on processed foods. If you pay attention to the quality of the food in your diet, you can forget about counting calories.”

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About this weight loss and microbiome research news

Writer: press office
Source: Stanford
Contact: Press Office – Stanford
Picture: Image is in the public domain

Original research: Open Access.
“Clear factors associated with short-term and long-term weight loss induced by low-fat or low-carbohydrate dietary intervention” by Xiao Li et al. Cell Reports Medicine


Significant factors associated with short-term and long-term weight loss caused by low-fat or low-carbohydrate dietary intervention


  • Significant variables are associated with short-term and long-term weight loss success.
  • The primary drivers for short-term weight loss are diet adherence and diet quality.
  • Long-term weight loss is associated with baseline personal multi-ohmic markers.
  • Key factors (eg RQ) can suggest sensible approaches to weight loss.


To understand what determines the success of short- and long-term weight loss, we conduct a secondary analysis of dietary, metabolic, and molecular data collected from 609 participants before, during, and after the 1-year weight loss intervention. healthy low-carb (HLC) or healthy low-fat (HLF) diet.

Through systematic analysis of multi-domain datasets, we found that diet adherence and diet quality, not just calorie restriction, were important for short-term weight loss on both diets. Interestingly, we observe minimal dietary differences between those who achieve long-term weight loss and those who do not.

Instead, proteomics and gut microbiota signatures differ significantly between these two groups at baseline. Also, the baseline respiratory quotient can suggest a special diet for better weight loss results.

Overall, the identification of these dietary, molecular, and metabolic factors common or unique to HLC and HLF diets provides a roadmap for developing personalized weight loss strategies.


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