Our usual diet has a significant effect on the types of bacteria in our intestines – but very little is known about what effect this has on overall health. So we still have a lot to learn about how diet affects health, both directly and indirectly.
“You are what you eat” is familiar enough, but how deep do the implications go? An interdisciplinary group of investigators from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have found an association between long-term dietary patterns and the bacteria of the human gut. In a study of 98 healthy volunteers, the gut bacteria separated into two distinct groups, called enterotypes, that were associated with long-term consumption of either a typical Western diet rich in meat and fat versus a more agrarian diet rich in plant material.