Smokers Gain Weight Post Quitting:Researchers Find out Why

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Dec 16, 2013

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Quick Bites

  • Researchers find changed diversity of intestinal bacteria to be a cause for weight gain.
  • Quitting smoking does not make one to crave for food.
  • Stool samples of non-smokers and smokers was checked to derive the conclusion.
  • Those who quit smoking must make other lifestyle changes as well.

If you were a smoker and have quit for whatever reasons, you must know how your weight scale has been climbing new heights every time you check it. Yes, your lungs and heart are for sure breathing a sigh of relief but not your waistline.

Weight gain after quitting smokingSeveral researchers have found out that weight gain post quitting smoking is not really a consequence of an increased sense of appetite as is populary assumed, but because of a change in the composition of intestinal flora after quiting. According to current trends, about 80 per cent of the people who quit smoking tend to weigh 7 kilos more on an average. What is even more surprising is that their calorie levels remain the same or may in fact, fall compared to the level before they quit smoking. So, what is it that is really causing the weight gain? Let's find out.

Changed Composition of Bacterial Diversity in Intestine

Researchers who worked with Gerhard Rogler of Zurich University Hospital attributed the cause of excessive weigh gain post quitting smoking to a change in the diversity of bacteria present in the intestine. The researchers pointed out that the bacterial strains that linger in the intestinal flora of an obese person also influence him/her to give up smoking.

How the Study Derived the Conclusion: Comparison of Stool Samples

The team of researchers examined genetic material of intestinal bacteria that were found in faeces. Alongside, they studied four stool samples per person over a period of 9 weeks. The participants included five smokers, five non-smokers and ten people who had quit smoking a week after the beginning of the study.

The results from analysis reported that even though the bacterial diversity in faeces of smokers as well as non-smokers changes little over time, that of those who gave up smoking made the biggest shift in the composition of microbial inhabitants. The test subjects who had quit smoking gained an average of 2.2 kilos even though their eating as well as drinking habits did not change.

Researchers further reported that composition of diverse bacteria in the intestinal flora that changes after quitting smoking, probably provides the body with more energy, making non-smokers gain weight.

Further studies are being done to come to a concrete conclusion.


Read more articles on Weight Gain.

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