Before you get angry, or blame it on your diet or fast food, read this.

Yahoo.com reports a new study says people who live in Northern climates - especially those in areas with long, cold, snowy winters - have more fat microbes.  What are they?

Researchers at the University of California have discovered people who live in colder climates have more of what are called Firmicute bacteria in their digestive system.   These bacteria enable a person to more readily digest their food, and more completely.

The end result?   The more Firmacute bacteria in your gut,  the more calories that are readily available for the body to burn.   Yes, this would tend to make those people a little fatter.  But it was also shown people in cold climates need more calories to burn to keep themselves warm!

Just like polar bears and other animals, the study also showed people in Northern, colder climates (and that includes the U.S.) also tend to be heavier, a little bigger, and a bit more fat insulation on their bodies.  Mice captured in Northern parts of the U.S. (Minnesota, Michigan,  The Dakotas etc)as part of the study tend to have more of these characteristics than those captured in Florida.

So, where do we fit in here in Washington state?  Not sure.   But since we've had some close to record cold stretches, and recent snow, don't feel so guilty about that trip you took to McDonalds or Burger King last week.   It might just be your Firmacutes in action!