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Wikipedia describes a Western diet as:

... higher intakes of red and processed meat, butter, high-fat dairy products, eggs, refined grains, white potatoes, french fries, and high-sugar drinks.

In the following article there is information about research done that suggests mice eating a high-fat diet while taking antibiotics become obese:

Scientific America: How Gut Bacteria Help Make Us Fat and Thin

I was wondering whether there has been any similar study to see what happens to obese mice or humans that take antibiotics while eating a non-western diet such as the Mediterranean diet, which this Guardian article suggests does not cause weight gain?:

The Guardian: High-fat Mediterranean diet does not cause weight gain

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  • $\begingroup$ The Scientific American article states that food you are referring to was "high in fat and low in fruits, vegetables and fiber" but you refer to fat as the key. It could be that the reduction of one of the other components is the cause. For example, fiber is often prebiotic. It could be the case that a high-fat, high-fiber diet would change the result. $\endgroup$ – JimmyJames Jun 23 '17 at 13:43
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, on second look, your question actually misrepresents the study. The mice on antibiotics gained much more weight on a normal diet but this effect could be eliminated by putting these mice in the same cage with those not treated with antibiotics. The change in diet eliminated the cohabitation effect. $\endgroup$ – JimmyJames Jun 23 '17 at 13:47
  • $\begingroup$ pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.jproteome.6b00942 antibiotics in pigs and effect on plant lignan metabolites. $\endgroup$ – Graham Chiu Mar 21 '18 at 7:46
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Although evidence of absence is not proof of absence, there are currently no published studies on PubMed which have mice/antibiotics/(Mediterranean diet) or (olive oil) in the abstract. But I guess such a study will be soon published as the question is fairly obvious and of high interest.

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It's been well known in the poultry industry that giving birds antibiotics causes 'growth promotion'. Humans are obviously not birds but given that undisputed fact, it seems reasonable to consider that effect this might apply to other species.

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I don't believe elevated polyunsatured fatty acid consumption falls under the tendencies of the western diet, and may be more reminiscent of the Mediterranean diet, so hopefully this answers your question. This study took mice with elevated blood and tissue omega-3 levels, and were used to identify if high levels of omega-3's could prevent the deleterious effects of excessive antibiotic use on gut microbiota. Regarding microbiota diversity, antibiotics are known to create an imbalance between bacteroidetes (decreased) and firmucutes (increased) - this study evidenced that the omega-3 mice were able to rapidly recover their bacteroidetes composition and reduce the amount of firmucutes present in comparison to the control, which in short is good news, as this also prevented later-life obesity in the omega-3 mice in contrast to the obese controls.

For skeptics of microbiota-influenced weight loss (and I know there's many), there is quite a bit of literature out there describing the relationship between gut microbiota diversity and energy expenditure. The short description is that elevated bacteroidetes (in proportion to firmucutes) is associated with lean phenotypes, that diet is very much capable of modulating gut microbiota over short periods of time, and transplanting microbiota compositions into obese individuals has definitively shown an effect on metabolism. The only problem to a gung ho microbiota therapy is, no one knows the gold standard for microbiota composition.

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  • $\begingroup$ Maybe what we need to do is go to one of these isolated communities where they still live on hunter gatherer diets and trade something for a turd specimen, preferably polished. $\endgroup$ – Graham Chiu Mar 21 '18 at 7:33
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There is no reason to think that taking antibotics is going to tweak your gut flora in a way that will make you lose weight for good.

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  • $\begingroup$ I beg to differ. If antibiotics can increase weight gain through one type of diet, then is it that far off to reason that antibiotics with another type of diet may cause weight loss? The weight gain seems to indicate that antibiotics may help change gut flora. $\endgroup$ – Ein Doofus Dec 5 '17 at 22:17
  • $\begingroup$ Agreed with the comment above. Dysbiosis of the gut can radically change how your gut behaves. There are a number of studies now which have shown that antibiotics cause long lasting effects (e.g. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29945240). Typically this has been tied to obesity rather than weight loss, but I suspect that's a Western research bias brought about by increased prevalence and relevance of obesity versus malnutrition. $\endgroup$ – Joe Healey Oct 17 '18 at 11:30

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