When trying to lose weight, most of us immediately cut down on favourite treats such as chocolate, cheese and wine.
But a top scientist says there is no need to remove these indulgences from the diet, as they can help us cultivate more 'good' bacteria in our guts - which in turn will help us stay slim.
Speaking at the Oxford Literary Festival over the weekend, Professor Tim Spector, of King's College London, said that the secret to successfully dieting is to eat a wide range of foods.
"We ingest these microbes and they end up in our gut, where they diversify with the new foods we introduce over the years. The more diverse foods we eat, the more varieties of microbes in our bodies, which makes us healthier,"
Professor Spector said that wine, cheese and chocolate were all good at promoting healthy gut bacteria, but that fatty, sugary junk food can wipe out healthy gut flora.
The scientist has spoken out before about his belief that changes in our gut microbe community, or microbiome, are likely to be responsible for much of our obesity epidemic.