Researchers at Pennington Biomedical Research Centre, United States report that poor diet diversity leads to a weak ecosystem of gut bacteria that increases the risk of metabolic diseases.
An example of poor diet diversity is a reliance on foods which lack a wide range of nutrients, such as white bread, white rice, pasta and pastries. By contrast, a diet based around a good range of whole foods with minimal processing provides good diet diversity.
Role of the gut microbiomeGut microbiota metabolise specific nutrients from food. The microbiota then transforms the energy taken from food into new molecules, producing certain substances that act as metabolic signals.
When the gut microbiome is packed with richness of microbiota species - which comes from eating a diverse, healthy diet - the microbiome is more adaptable and able to deal with metabolic problems.
However, poor diet diversity affects the functionality of the gut microbiome. "Healthy individuals posses a diverse gut microbiota but a reduced microbiotic richness gives rise to type 2 diabetes, obesity and inflammatory bowel disease," said the researchers.
In their review, the research team found "a loss in species diversity [ ] in several disease states. This biome is flooded with energy in the form of undigested and partially digested foods, and in some cases drugs and dietary supplements."
The researchers stressed that eating a balanced, diverse diet can reduce the risk of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes. To eat healthily, make sure you eat a wide range of nutrients. The best way to do this is to include a strong intake of vegetables in your diet and include few highly-processed foods such as white bread, ready to heat meals or sugary foods.
The review appears in the journal Molecular Metabolism.