Why do ex-smokers gain weight?

One reason why ex-smokers gain weight is because they eat more. However, weight gain is not necessarily due to an increased calorie intake, it also relates to a change in the composition of the intestinal microorganisms.
When someone quits smoking it has been estimated that eighty per cent of people put on seven kilos, on average. Often the weight increase happens even if someone’s calorie intake remains the same. Why is this?
One reason put forward by a research team is to attribute the cause to a changed composition of the bacterial diversity in the intestine.
 To arrive at this conclusion, the research team examined the genetic material of intestinal bacteria found in the faeces from stool samples received from twenty different people over a period of nine weeks. The test group included five non-smokers, five smokers and ten persons who had quit smoking one week after the start of the study.
The scientists found that giving up smoking resulted in the biggest shift in the composition of the microbial inhabitants of the intestines. It was also noted that the test subjects who had quit smoking gained an average of 2.2 kilos in weight although their eating and drinking habits remained the same.
The study has been carried out by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). The findings have been published in the journal PLOS One. The paper is titled “Smoking Cessation Induces Profound Changes in the Composition of the Intestinal Microbiota in Humans.”
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