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Western Diet Has Negative Impact On Gut Microbes And Digestive Health

August 2, 2010: 10:31 AM EST
Studying the diets and intestinal bacteria of children in Burkina Faso and Italy, scientists found that diet plays a dominating role than other factors like ethnicity or sanitation in determining gut microbiota. The findings suggest that the developed world’s diet – animal protein, sugar, starch, and fat, little fiber – shifts intestinal microbe composition in a detrimental way and explains why chronic stomach upsets and even obesity are rising among children in the Western world. The Burkina Faso diet comprises mainly cereals, legumes and vegetables which are high in carbohydrates, fiber and non-animal proteins. Gut microbes are thus more beneficial. “Exposure to the large variety of environmental microbes associated with a high-fiber diet could increase the potentially beneficial bacterial genomes, enriching the microbiome,” the researchers noted.
Carlotta De Filippoa, Duccio Cavalieria, Monica Di Paolab, Matteo Ramazzottic, Jean Baptiste Poulletd, Sebastien Massartd, Silvia Collinib, Giuseppe Pieraccinie, and Paolo Lionettib, "Impact of diet in shaping gut microbiota revealed by a comparative study in children from Europe and rural Africa", PNAS, August 02, 2010, © National Academy of Sciences
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