Gut bacteria may be picky diners

Posted 01/04/2012 | By HealthCorps

They say “you are what you eat.” Well your eating preferences may be, in part, dictated by what your personal gut bacteria prefer. Last year German researchers suggested that the bacteria that lives in our stomach tract, falls into one of three types. More recently another research team looked at these bacteria and determined that there seemed to be two distinct “preferences.” One set of bacteria, the Prevotella, seemed to prefer a high carbohydrate diet, while the other bacteria enterotype, Bacteroides, preferred a western-style diet rich in meat and fat. The researchers then wanted to see if they could change the preferences of these gut bacteria.

They hospitalized ten healthy people for ten days and gave some of them a high-fat, low fiber diet, while the others received a low-fat, high fiber diet. Some changes in the composition of the gut bacteria were seen right away, but mostly the type of bacteria each person had, persisted. Researchers concluded that you could ultimately change the nature and preference of the bacteria in your gut, but it would require “commitment to a long-term dietary change.”

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