Would you feel better about your chocolate addiction if I told you that it might be related to the make up of your gut bacteria? Well this is the word from scientists who have found different bacterial colonies in the digestive systems of people who crave chocolate. And you thought it was a lack of discipline.

Researchers at the Nestle Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland (yes, the makers of Quick and Crunch) found that the men who ate chocolate regularly and the weirdos who didn’t (no, really, they were labelled “weird” in the study) had different metabolic byproducts show up in their blood and urine, and these were related to the different bacteria in their intestines. We all have a vast array of bacteria in our digestive systems–called “good” bacteria–some necessary for the digestive process itself and some to prevent the overgrowth of opportunistic organisms, like fungi and other “bad” bacteria (see my post on the appendix’s role in all of this).

What scientist conclude from this study is that our particular gut bacterial make up determines our food cravings. I find this study and its conclusions interesting because I am fully convinced that most everyone has foods that they are sensitive to. This is the principle in Ayurveda; and many other healing systems have been studying these links too. I, in fact, have been treated by a fabulous acupuncturist who gave me a decent guide to my particular food sensitivities by evaluating me and categorizing me into a “body type.” I have to say–he was pretty right on.

In any case, I think this is definitely an area worth studying. For the researchers of this recent work, they felt it might be a way to manipulate the digestive system’s bacterial make-up and help reduce obesity by decreasing food cravings. I don’t know about that, but if they can find a connection between bacterial composition and food sensitivities, I think it can help people stay away from those foods that bother them. Who knows, maybe the endemic proportions of heart burn (acid reflux), gas and bloating could be relieved by such information. We’ll see where they take this one.

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