The rise in obesity and type 2 diabetes could be due to a lack of diversity in diets, according to a leading American scientist.
Mark Heima, vice president and chief scientific officer at MicroBiome Therapeutics, revealed his findings at IFT15: Where Science Feeds Innovatio, hosted by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT).
Heiman explained that people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes had a different microbiome makeup.
The GI microbiome is regulated primarily by diet, and uses bacteria known as microbiota to create molecules that allow communication between the metabolic system and GI regulatory system.
The microbiome needs diversity to function properly, though, and Heiman reported that 75 per cent of the world consumes only five animal species and 12 plant species – of which the high-calorie rice and wheat are included.
Health benefits
In the first of two studies, Heiman created a formulation of inuli, antioxidants and beta glucan known as NM504. After testing it in 30 individuals, half of whom received it twice a day, a change in their microbiomes was observed. As a result, participants experienced improved glucose control, relief from constipation and increased fullness.
In Heiman’s second study, he developed MT303, which was derived from whole soybean pods. This also altered the microbiome makeup of obese mice, with decreased weight gain among the health benefits.
Heiman concluded that making dietary changes can improve the health of your gut, which can also be achieved through taking a therapeutic agent.
“Think about diets and think about foods you eat. How can we get more diversity into our diets? And we may think less about fad diets where you eliminate a certain component to your diet,” said Heiman.

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