Ultra-processed foods increase the bacteria that inflame the gut

Ultra-processed foods increase the bacteria that inflame the gut

The consumption of ultra-processed foods causes the growth of some bacteria associated with inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases, according to a study by the Human Nutrition Unit of Tarragona’s Rovira i Virgili University (URV), which analyzed 641 patients at cardiovascular risk. The work, published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, warns that the production and consumption of ultra-processed foods “has increased exponentially in recent decades, and that excessive intake of these foods sometimes results in high consumption of sugar, salt, and Sugar leads to saturated fat.

In addition, according to the researchers, these are products that have undergone several industrial processes to which sweeteners, thickeners, coloring agents or flavor enhancers are usually added. Some scientific studies had already observed that these foods can alter the gut microbiota and explained some of these adverse human health effects observed in prospective studies on large populations.

Now, URV researchers have found that eating this type of food is associated with a greater presence in the human gut of specific bacteria associated with inflammatory gastrointestinal disease. In the study, they analyzed 641 elderly people at high cardiovascular risk living in Reus (Tarragona), Barcelona, ​​​​​​Valencia and Malaga.

They categorized the patients into three categories according to their ultra-processed food consumption – little, moderate or high – and obtained information about the composition of their gut microbiota from the analysis of their stool samples using high-performance computational methods. Thus, the researchers saw that people who belonged to the group with high consumption of ultra-processed foods had greater numbers of bacteria associated with gastrointestinal diseases.

“These data suggest that diet and nutritional status are determinants of human health as the composition of the gut microbiota changes. “Detecting unhealthy dietary patterns related to gut microbiota profiles would be essential to understand the mechanisms of different diseases and to develop future strategies for prevention and improvement of public health,” the researchers said.

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