A Western diet reduces the diversity and composition of the gut bacteria

In May 2019 researchers from France published the results of their study to assess the association between diet and composition of gut microbiota (microbiota includes bacteria, fungi and viruses). A total of 862 healthy French individuals were included in the study. Information on their usual dietary consumption was collected via food frequency questionnaires. Faecal samples were collected from each individual and diversity of the gut microbiota analysed. Results showed that a higher consumption of foods generally thought of as healthy (eg raw fruits, fish) was associated with an increased diversity and evenness in distribution of the gut microbiota, whereas a higher consumption of foods for which a limited intake is generally recommended (eg fried food, sodas or sugary drinks, fatty sweet products, processed meats, ready-cooked meals, and desserts) was associated with a reduced diversity and reduced evenness in distribution. Fruits, fried products, ready-cooked meals, and cheese consumption were also seen to contribute to changes in the microbiota composition. A further analysis revealed a number of associations between various food group intakes and levels of specific bacteria, eg a higher consumption of cheese was associated with a reduced amount of Akkermansia muciniphila.

Partula V et al. Associations between usual diet and gut microbiota composition: results from the Milieu Intérieur cross-sectional study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2019 May 1;109(5):1472-1483

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