High-fat diet linked to negative changes in gut microbiome

A study published in Gut, an international journal in gastroenterology and hepatology, revealed that a diet low in carbohydrates and high in fat can lead to a detrimental shift in a person’s gut microbiome. Duo Li, PhD of the Institute of Nutrition and Health at Qingdao University in China, believes this study is particularly important to countries becoming more westernized.

“Evidence has shown that humans gut microbiota diversity and richness are reduced with consumption of high-fat diets compared with more traditional diets with a higher proportions of carbohydrates. Such diet-induced ‘dysbiosis’ in gut-associated microbial communities has been postulated as a major trigger of metabolic impairments associated with obesity.”

During the study, 217 healthy young adults were assigned to one of three isocaloric diets, low-fat, moderate-fat, and high-fat. Then changes in the participant’s gut bacteria and inflammatory triggers were observed.

The aim of the study was to examine whether a low-fat diet or high fat diet helps participants lose weight. The low fat group lost the most weight. But the most interesting finding was the the high fat diet lead to unfavorable changes to the gut microbiome.

“Li and colleagues found that the higher-fat diet was associated with changes to long-chain fatty acid metabolism, which resulted in higher levels of chemicals that could potentially trigger inflammation.”

Kelly Issokson, MS, RD, CNSC believes that the study is quite limited but shed light on an interesting observation for a younger population and fat intake.

“I will continue to recommend the Mediterranean-style eating pattern, which has been associated with favorable changes in the microbiota and metabolome as well as positive effects on health and wellness. A Mediterranean diet is rich in fiber, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, olive oil (high in omega 3 fatty acids), and encourages moderate to low intake of fish, dairy, and meat,” Issokson said.

To learn more: High-fat diet linked to unfavorable gut microbiota changes – Healio


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