“What matters is not how much you eat, but what you eat.”
We all carry a few pounds’ worth of microbes in our gut, a complex ecosystem collectively called the microbiota. The endotoxin molecule comes from the outer walls of certain bacteria. If endotoxin levels rise, our immune system perceives a threat and responds with inflammation.
Somehow, a greasy meal full of refined carbohydrates ushers it from the gut, where it is always present but doesn’t necessarily cause harm, into the bloodstream, where it does. But orange juice stops that translocation cold.
Dandona’s ongoing experiments — and others like it — could upend much of we thought we knew about the causes of obesity, or just that extra pesky 10 pounds of flab. If what some scientists now suspect about the interplay of food and intestinal microbes pans out, it could revolutionize the $66 billion weight loss industry — and help control the soaring $2.7 trillion we spend on health care yearly.