You know how your food cravings are always for something specific? Like you never crave a salad; it's always potato chips, chocolate or another carbohydrate-laden snack?
It turns out your willpower might not be to blame... it may be the bacteria living in your gut.
A new study details how your microbiome affects your eating decisions. Scientific American details a new study published in the journal PLOS Biology that demonstrates how gut bacteria, when starved of essential nutrients, can trick the body into feeding them more sugar, and use that sugar to convert carbohydrates into facsimiles of the nutrients the body needs. In essence, the bacteria fool the host into feeding them what they want (in order to reproduce) instead of what the body actually needs (in order to function properly).
The gut bacteria send signals to your brain (in a fascinating recently-discovered neuron circuit detailed here), producing a craving for sugar and starch-laden foods.
These results speak to the possibility that the trillions of microbes that live inside our gut could be influencing our bodies and minds in many more unforeseen ways.
So what does all this new science have to do with the keto diet?
Well, as it turns out, the good bacteria in your gut love fiber and the not-so-good bacteria crave sugars and starches. By changing your diet to restrict intake of sugary and starchy foods (i.e. carbohydrates), you can keep your harmful bacteria in check and, in so doing, reduce or eliminate your cravings for processed foods, helping you lose weight.