Health & Wellbeing

Study links poor diet to pro-inflammatory gut bacteria

Study links poor diet to pro-i...
A new study adds to a growing body of research cataloguing the relationship between diet and the gut microbiome
A new study adds to a growing body of research cataloguing the relationship between diet and the gut microbiome
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A new study adds to a growing body of research cataloguing the relationship between diet and the gut microbiome
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A new study adds to a growing body of research cataloguing the relationship between diet and the gut microbiome

New research from a team of Dutch scientists is offering novel insights into the relationship between diet, gut bacteria, and intestinal inflammation. The study, tracking nearly 1,500 people, found consistent associations between pro-inflammatory bacterial species and diets high in fast food, sugar and animal products.

It is certainly no newsflash to suggest a high-fat, high-sugar diet, heavy in processed foods is unhealthy. And a nascent body of research has begun to unpack how disruptions to our gut microbiome can contribute to systemic inflammation and disease. A new study, published in the journal Gut, is offering a robust look at how specific foods can be linked to clusters of gut bacteria known to cause inflammatory responses.

The researchers analyzed stool samples from 1,425 people. Around 550 subjects suffered from either inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), while the rest of the cohort were healthy. All subjects also completed a questionnaire tracking their dietary habits.

“Processed foods and animal-derived foods were consistently associated with higher abundances of Firmicutes, Ruminococcus species of the Blautia genus and endotoxin synthesis pathways,” the researchers report in the new study. “The opposite was found for plant foods and fish, which were positively associated with short-chain fatty acid-producing commensals and pathways of nutrient metabolism.”

These associations between diet and bacterial clusters were consistent across all cohorts, suggesting a healthy diet, promoting greater volumes of anti-inflammatory bacteria, may help reduce, or at least mitigate, some of the intestinal inflammation common to IBD and IBS.

A particular strength of this new study is its cataloguing of certain bacterial species with specific foods. For example, the research detected associations between increased volumes of Ruminococcus gnavus, Akkermansia muciniphila and Proteobacteria, and diets high in processed meat, sugar and fast food.

These particular bacteria are known to produce endotoxins and damage the gut’s mucus layer. This erosion of the gut barrier is especially prominent when a diet is absent of fiber.

Of course, these kinds of studies are not without their limitations, particularly when trying to determine causality. The researchers make no claims as to whether short-term dietary interventions can directly alter these gut bacteria populations. Further work will be needed to understand the long-term relationships between diet and the microbiome, particularly when considering any clinical recommendations for patients suffering from acute gut inflammation.

“Despite these limitations, we were able to derive dietary patterns that consistently correlate with groups of bacteria and functions known to infer mucosal protection and anti-inflammatory effects,” the researchers conclude in the study. “We believe that the diet-microbiota associations that we described in this manuscript are robust: the results are consistent in the different cohorts and also remained significant after adjusting for additional cohort-specific factors such as medication usage.”

The ultimate conclusion is the suggestion that inflammatory mechanisms mediated by gut bacteria may be minimized by limiting animal products, sugar, processed foods and strong alcoholic drinks. Beneficial gut bacteria providing anti-inflammatory effects may be promoted with a diet focusing more on plant-based proteins, vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish and low-fat fermented dairy.

The new study was published in the journal Gut.

Source: The BMJ via Eurekalert

9 comments
guzmanchinky
Makes sense. Especially as I got past 50 the way I ate directly affected just about everything I felt.
Kyle McHattie
I love how they lump in animal products as if they distinguish it as a contributing factor on it's own. Same with fat. It's the sugar causing the gut problems. Not the fat or animal products. Maybe look at the hundreds better controlled peer reviewed studies that give a better picture.
akarp
High fat diets are okay. It's the processed foods and sugar.
Aross
I suspect that it has a lot more to do with what the animals eat and are injected with that ends up in the animal products than the fact that it is animal. Also move away from sugar into fructose from corn that is also added to almost everything you buy today. Just look at whole chickens at a well known big box store. They are injected with of all things "Chicken soup", which of course is laced with MSG.

And lets not forget those health foods like lettuce and other green vegetables grown down stream from stock feed pens. If you have ever driven west from Des Moines on the I80 or flown over the area you will have noticed the pleasant smell of these stock yards. They are the cause of so many e coli contamination events.

So to sum up, is there any food on the market today that can be considered healthy?
Douglas Rogers
I dropped about 30 lbs. and stopped my painful foot swelling by going (not quite) gluten free. I ate a lot of Johnsonville beef brats, no bun!
clay
Kyle is spot on with his comment. I completely agree. Who funded this study, the WHO? The Davos cabal? "You'll own nothing and you'll like it".... "You'll eat less meat and you'll like it"...

It seems "They" are trying to dumb down the general population of lightbulbs. Meat, especially *red* meat makes your brain grow and work better... When a mother has a baby in her womb and she eats plenty of good quality RED MEAT... her child *WILL* develop a bigger, stronger brain with more gray matter... This goes for most fish..and NON vegetable based (and/or non-SEED) oils.. such as Lard and Tallow, olive, coconut and avocado, and other *NUT* oils (to be clear: a Nut is a *type of seed* but a seed is *not* a nut) .

"Its a TRAP"...
clay
I should add... Coconuts and several others (almonds, walnuts, cherries and many more) are actually called "Drupes" and are the brother/sister of true nuts.
clay
To be fair to the report, which I agree with many of the comment regarding fats and meat, Eating fat AND carbs at the same time or within the window of time that your insulin levels are spiked (due TO the carbs) will 100% fatten you up. Obviously protein has a similar though subdued effect as the carbs.

Also, to lump all fats together should have been grounds to reject the paper outright.. that's like saying all flowers are poisonous... even though many (like the Dandelion) are 100% edible, from the roasted coffee-like result from the roots to the salad of the greens to the teas made with the flower... Humans *evolved* eating and using them (like Hemp, btw).

It is the hight of arrogance from the religion of Main Stream Science...to use the label "fats" and to deny the FUNDAMENTAL benefits of red meat.
BlueOak
“Of course, these kinds of studies are not without their limitations, particularly when trying to determine causality.”

This and when you see the word “associated” littered throughout the discussion your cynical antennae should stand at attention.

This study proves nothing about whether the food intake caused what the study measured in the poop.

BTW, why “sanitize” it by calling it a gut study story when it is actually a poop study story? (Who knows what happens after the gut in the intestines and exposure to atmosphere...)