microbiome

I’ve never thought of the gut as a “microbiome.” But according to one of the newest nutrition trends, a change in what we eat influences what kinds of bacteria grow in our digestive system. Since we have a symbiotic relationship with those bacteria (the reasoning goes), changing the types of colonies we encourage and discourage might change just about everything about how we feel and which diseases we get. In a study published last month (full reference in previous post, short: Linking Long-Term Dietary Patterns with Gut Microbial Enterotypes, Wu et al) researchers found an association between diets focused on vegetables or meats and different taxa of bacteria. Though these associations aren’t strong enough to control or even explain every part of our gut bacterial composition, they may play a role in why we high-animal protein/fat Westerners get different diseases than people who eat more carbs and less meat. Pretty neat, huh? The human body is such an intricate mystery.

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