It might sound strange but your poo could be the reason that you’re putting on weight.

Researchers from King’s College London found that bacteria in your poo called human faecal microbiome is responsible for abdominal fat. 

Scientists, who published their results in the journal Genome Biology, examined faecal samples from over 1,300 people in order to determine which bacteria were present. They then compared the information from faecal microbes to six measures of obesity, including body mass index and visceral and other fat levels. The strongest links were found between the bacteria in poop and visceral fat.

Investigators also used DNA data for each individual to determine to what extent genetics contributes to the presence of each microbe and obesity.

“Visceral fat forms strong links with the microbiome, and at least a part of this is driven by host genetics,” study co-author Michelle Beaumont said. “However the majority of the effect on the microbiome is environmental, for example, diet.”

She added: “We also found that obese people had more carbohydrate processing genes in their microbiomes than lean individuals and we hypothesize that this may lead to more efficient carbohydrate processing and in conjunction with a sedentary lifestyle, may lead to obesity.”

Researchers believe their study provides support for the theory that obese individuals are more efficient at extracting calories and certain nutrients from their foods. And this makes eating healthily and doing exercise all the more important to ensure a healthy lifestyle.

Beaumont said: “In the future we will look to extend the analyses in a larger dataset and hope to be able to determine with more accuracy individual genes which may be driving the genetic effect on the microbiome.”

-Dmitry Belyaev