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Going On A New Diet? Don’t Expect Your Gut Bacteria To Be On Your Side, Says Study

By dsorbello at Jan. 2, 2017, 10:59 a.m., 24676 hits

The new year is always a good time to get started on something new. If you're looking to change up how you eat improve your diet however, your gut bacteria might not be on your side right away, says a study published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.

According to study senior author Jeffrey Gordon, prescribing a diet to boost health requires an understanding of what microbes can help bring about beneficial effects. During the study, Gordon and colleagues discovered a way to acquire different microbial communities in the gut to identify which organisms aid in promoting the benefits of a particular diet.

Gut Microbes And Dietary Lifestyles

To see how dietary practices influence gut microbes and how microbiota conditioned under a certain dietary lifestyle will respond to a new diet, the researchers took samples of fecal matter from people eating the typical American diet unrestricted and from those who followed plant-rich, calorie-restricted diets. They found the latter to have more diverse gut microbes.

Germ-free mice were then grouped and colonized with gut microbes from either groups. They were also fed either their donor's diet or the other diet type. The researchers observed that both mice groups responded to the new diets they were given but the mice with American-diet microbiota responded more weakly when given plant-rich diets.

Enhancing Gut Mcrobiota Response

In an effort to enhance response from the mice with American-diet microbiota, Gordon and colleagues housed them in the same area as mice with plant-diet microbiota. Eventually, microbes from the latter group found their way to the mice with American-diet microbiota, which then showed a markedly improved response to receiving the plant diet.

“We need to think of our gut microbial communities not as isolated islands but as parts of an archipelago where bacteria can move from island to island,” said Nicholas Griffin, the study's first author, adding that a lot of the bacteria that found their way into the American-diet microbiota were absent at first in those who consumed unrestricted diets.
The researchers are optimistic about the results and how their study can contribute to helping devise new strategies to improve the effects of health diets. However, they also emphasized that further research will have to be done to outline factors that will determine how microbes are exchanged between people.

Gordon said there's a growing understanding of how nutrition is affected by an individual's microbiota. He and the researchers are hoping that the microbes that were identified using their approaches may be used in the future as next-generation probiotics.

New Year, New You

Eating better is one effective way to improve your health. It is not easy but even the smallest changes can have an impact on your overall well-being.

To help you stick to your new diet, think of it as introducing lasting changes to your lifestyle rather than quick stops to a goal. Don't forget to zero in on a motivation. Knowing why you're doing what you're doing will help you stick to your new diet, which will then give it time to work and show you benefits.

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