Junk Food Interferes With Gut Bacteria That Keep You Healthy

By @hyaluronidase on
Fast food
IN PHOTO: Fast food is displayed in Hollywood, California October 3, 2007. Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

There are so many reasons why junk food is not good for the health and another recent British study may just add more to the evidences. According to the study, junk food affects the bacteria needed for good health.

The research was conducted by Tim Spector, a genetic epidemiology at King’s College London. The aim of the study was to find a link between beneficial gut bacteria and health. The results found that diets composed mostly of processed ingredients are toxic to gut bacteria.

The study can be found in Spector’s upcoming book, “The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat”. In one of the studies elaborated in the book, a younger Spector, 23-year-old genetics student Tom, steps in to help with the study by agreeing to eat nothing else but McDonald’s meals for 10 days.

According to a report from the Australia, Tom said he had about 3,500 bacterial species in his gut, which were dominated by a type called firmicutes. Once Tom started with the McDonald’s diet, he reported that he lost 1,300 species of bacteria, with a type called bacteroidetes now dominating.

He implied that eating McDonald’s have killed thousands of species of bacterial gut. Tom suggested the finding to his father and said that obesity may not only be caused by overeating.

Spector told The Australian that microbes, though they always get a bad reputation, are crucial to health and only a few species are harmful. He said that the change in the microbial population is likely responsible for the obesity problems, as well as the health consequences of the condition, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

The findings imply that beneficial gut bacteria are needed in displacing harmful mircrobes to regulate body metabolism. These gut bacteria are needed to produce digestive enzymes needed for proper absorption of important food nutrients and minerals, The Telegraph reports.

A study by Professor Rob Knight from the University of Colorado Boulder also supports Spector’s finding. In his study, he showed that taking gut bacteria from obese patients and transferring them to mice causes weight gain in the rodents.

To report problems or leave feedback on this article, email: wendylemeric@gmail.com.

Join the Discussion