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Chemicals in urine can predict how body will respond to junk food diet

Researchers at Imperial College London have found that certain compounds in urine can be used to show who is at a greater risk of developing obesity or diabetes due to a poor diet. The research was conducted in mice and helps us to understand how the gut microbiome contributes to our health, as the chemicals that were detected were released by the bacteria in our gut. It has been known for some time that different people will have varying outcomes when exposed to a high-fat diet, making it difficult to create a universal diet plan that works for everyone, however the effect of the gut microbiome is less well known.

By using genetically similar mice and analysing their urine, the researchers were able to identify some chemical signatures that were predictive of some outcomes, such as weight gain and glucose tolerance – which is an early sign of diabetes. The findings themselves will be made part of a larger trial that will involve around 2,000 participants which aims to identify how and why people react differently to similar diets and how their microbiomes influence this. It is also hoped that this could lead to a more personalised diet for those wishing to control their weight or to avoid health conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

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