“You are not only what you eat, but also what you ate as a child!”
High fat and sugar intake in childhood can change the microbiome for life, even if you later learn to eat healthy, suggests a new study in mice.
The study, conducted by researchers at UC Riverside, is one of the first to show a significant decrease in the total number of intestinal bacteria and their diversity in mature mice fed an unhealthy diet in their youth. The study was recently published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
“We studied mice, but the effects we observed can also be seen in children who have a Western diet, rich in fat and sugar, and the intestinal microbiome is affected up to six years even after puberty,” said the physiologist UCR Theodore Garland.
The microbiome refers to all bacteria, as well as fungi, parasites and viruses, which live on and inside a human or animal. Most of these microorganisms are found in the intestines, and most of them are extremely useful in stimulating the immune system, breaking down food and helping to synthesize key vitamins.
As we know, in a healthy body there is a balance of pathogenic and beneficial organisms, and this balance can be disturbed by antibiotics, other diseases or an unhealthy diet.
In this study, Garland’s team analyzed the impact of the diet on the microbiome after dividing their mice into four groups: those fed the standard diet, i.e. the healthy diet, those fed the Western diet, which was less healthy, those who had access to a running wheel for exercises and those without access to a wheel.
After three weeks of study, all mice were returned to a standard diet without exercise, which is the normal way in which mice are kept in the laboratory. After 14 weeks, the team examined the diversity and abundance of bacteria in the animals.
They found that the level of certain bacteria, such as Muribaculum, was significantly reduced in the group fed the Western diet. This type of bacteria is involved in carbohydrate metabolism.
The analysis also showed that intestinal bacteria are sensitive to the amount of effort exerted by mice. Muribaculum bacteria increased in mice fed a standard diet that had access to a treadmill and decreased in mice on a high-fat diet, regardless of whether they exercised or not.
Researchers believe that this species of bacteria and the family of bacteria it belongs to could influence the amount of energy available to its host and ongoing research on other functions that this type of bacteria may have.
Another notable effect was the growth of a very similar species of bacteria that multiplied after five weeks of treadmill training in a study by other researchers, suggesting that only exercise can increase its presence. It was also found that the early Western diet had lasting effects on the microbiome and after its discontinuation, being significant that these changes in the microbiome were observed so long after the change of diet.
So, as Theodore Garland says, “You are not just what you eat, you are what you ate as a child!” In this regard, the Dahna application saves you from worries, offering you a balanced diet for both adults and children. You can download it for free from the AppStore or Google Play.