Processed diets low in fiber may initially reduce the incidence of food-borne infectious diseases such as E. coli infections, but may also increase the incidence of diseases characterized by chronic low-grade infection and severe disease. inflammation like diabetes, according to researchers at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University.
This study used mice to investigate how switching from a grain-based diet to a highly processed, high-fat, Western-style diet impacts infection with the pathogen Citrobacter rodentium, which resembles Escherichia infections. coli (E. coli) in humans. The results are published in the journal PLOS pathogens.
The gut microbiota, the microorganisms living in the gut, provide a number of benefits, such as protecting a host from infection with bacterial pathogens. These microorganisms are influenced by a variety of environmental factors, especially diet, and are highly dependent on complex carbohydrates such as fiber.
The Western-style diet, which contains large amounts of processed foods, red meat, high-fat dairy products, high-sugar foods and prepackaged foods, lacks fiber, which is necessary to support the intestinal microbiota. It is believed that changes in eating habits, especially a lack of fiber, have contributed to the increased prevalence of chronic inflammatory diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, metabolic syndrome, and cancer.
In this study, researchers found that switching mice from a standard grain-based rodent food to a Western-style diet high in fat and fiber resulted in a rapid reduction in the number of gut bacteria. Mice fed a Western-style diet were often unable to eliminate the pathogen Citrobacter rodentium from the colon. They were also likely to develop chronic infection when provoked again by this pathogen.
The researchers conclude that the Western-style diet reduces the number of gut bacteria and promotes microbiota encroachment in the gut, potentially influencing immune system readiness and the body’s defense against pathogenic bacteria.
“We observed that feeding mice a Western-style diet, rather than a standard grain-based rodent food, altered the dynamics of Citrobacter infection, reducing initial colonization and inflammation, which was surprising. However, mice consuming the Western-style diet frequently developed a persistent infection associated with low-grade inflammation and insulin resistance, ”said Dr. Andrew Gewirtz, co-lead author of the study and professor at the Institute for Biomedical Sciences. “These studies demonstrate the potential for modification of the microbiota and their metabolites by diet to impact the course and consequences of infection following exposure to an intestinal pathogen. “
“We believe that remodeling the gut microbiota with nutrients that promote beneficial bacteria that outperform pathogens could be a way to broadly promote health,” said Dr. Jun Zou, study co-lead author and professor. assistant at the Institute for Biomedical Sciences. at Georgia State.
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