Recent studies have suggested that the intestinal
microbiome plays an important role in modulating
risk of several chronic diseases, including
inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, type 2
diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
“Every time you diet, it’s causing fluctuations in
the compositions of your gut bacteria and basically
destabilizing that community,” William DePaolo, a UW
Medicine microbiome expert and director of the
Center for Microbiome Research and Therapeutics
The changes in what you eat can have positive or
negative consequences to your overall health, he
A healthy and varied diet – one high in fiber,
fruits, vegetables and lean meats – is generally
considered good for your gut.
Fad diets, which focus on one food group or which
eliminate variety in the diet, generally have a
negative effect on the microbiome and potentially,
your long-term health, he said. In short, you are
what you eat. Especially in your gut.
“If you change your diet,” DePaolo said, “some of
the consequences of that is bacteria now express
different genes that could predispose an individual
to inflammation that could cause serious health
consequences or long-term chronic disease.”
Experiments showing that dietary alterations can
induce large, temporary microbial shifts within 24
Given this association, there may be significant
therapeutic utility in altering microbial
composition through diet.
A new review systematically evaluates current data
regarding the effects of several common dietary
components on intestinal microbiota.
Furthermore, the identity of these bacteria affects
host immune and metabolic parameters, with broad
implications for human health.
For more information
Journal of Translational Medicine
Influence of diet on the gut microbiome and
implications for human health
University of Washington