When you walk into a grocery store to buy your next month or week’s food supply, you always check the nutritional information before buying any single item. Due to the rise of clean diet culture and awareness about healthy eating, this is a common habit among adults.
From the sugar content to the health benefit a food has to offer, the nutritional labels that can be found behind any packaged food give a person almost all of the required information.
Consequently, many people buy ‘replacement foods’ or any other edible item instead of the one they use normally with similar nutritional advantages. This may come in handy when trying to follow a particular diet and from keeping one from loading up on processed and unhealthy foods.
However, new research on the subject shows a different view. While two food items may look as if they provide the same nutrition to the person, they may have different effects on the body and specifically on the gut microbiota.
The gut microflora plays an important role in a number of fundamental functions in the human body. Moreover, they have also been linked to the prevention of many health conditions and even to mental health.
Any research on them is, therefore, important for medical science to progress. The findings of the study on the effects of different foods on gut bacteria can be found in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.
Read the study in details here.
How Was the Research Conducted?
In order to look at the effects of different foods on the gut bacteria, the scientists looked at a total of thirty-four participants.
These participants were asked to note down whatever they consumed for seventeen days.
In addition, the researchers also collected stool samples from each of the participants on a daily basis for the examination of any changes in the gut microbiome. For doing so, a procedure called shotgun metagenomic sequencing was performed with the samples.
This not only shows how the daily intake of a participant affected the gut bacteria but also it further led to changes in the metabolic functions and enzymes.
What Were the Results?
At the beginning of the study, the main goal of the researchers was to observe how different nutritional element affected gut microbiome as a whole and specific strains as well. Secondly, another objective was to know more about how the microflora differed among the people.
However, the findings actually showed the foods with the same nutritional content do not actually have the same effect on the gut bacteria. Hence, they provided a new and different challenge to the team who had to then switch their research method.
Instead of the previous way of seeing the effects of food, the researchers created a structured hierarchy of foods in order to see which foods are similar and may have the same effects.
Conclusively, it was found that foods that fall under the same category do have the same effects on the gut microbiome while different foods did not have the same effects even if they had the same nutritional content.
What Does this Mean?
Almost all of the foods available have nutritional labels on them. However, instead of now just choosing the food based on the table behind, it is important to keep in mind that nutritional content from food may not actually provide you the needed vitamins and minerals.
Instead, it is always good to research on your own before buying or buying less packaged foods and cooking food at home more often.