In the Media
Which Foods Make You Fat? The Answer Is in Your Gut
Is rice more healthful than ice cream? Not necessarily. Are potatoes harmful? Not for everyone. A breakthrough study by two researchers from the Weizmann Institute shows that each of us has a different ‘microbiome,’ that makes us respond to foods differently. Get ready for a new medical revolution.
Like a patient who tells a therapist about a dream she had and in so doing reveals her deepest secrets, I submitted the products of my intestines to two researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot. My expectation was that I would learn something important about myself. Dr. Eran Elinav, from the institute’s department of immunology, and Prof. Eran Segal, from the department of computer science and applied mathematics, were going to analyze my “second genome,” namely the millions of bacteria that populate my digestive tract and are responsible for some of my key traits: my inclination to put on weight, my chances of developing diabetes and possibly also my prospects for contracting diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. In the interim, I meet with Segal and Elinav to talk about the new genomic revolution.
“The 20th century was the century of the human genome,” Elinav notes. “It showed how our genes function and their connection with our traits, behaviors and diseases. Now a new genome has been discovered, consisting of the millions of microbes that cohabit our body and affect us in a million and one ways. Of course, we’ve known about these bacteria, fungi and so forth since the invention of the microscope, but we didn’t know what to do with the information. These pampered bacteria don’t grow in laboratory conditions, so only when the technology became available were we able to analyze their DNA and for the first time explore this world of the microbiome.”
Read the full story on Haaretz here.
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