Our intestines don’t just digest food to produce energy. According to “netdoktor.de”, the intestinal flora, i.e. the bacteria that reside in it, do a lot more. For example, it produces essential fatty acids from certain dietary fibers that cannot be formed anywhere else. Some intestinal bacteria are responsible for toxic substances like Neutralize nitrosamines or polycyclic aromatic hydrogens. If they are inhibited in their function, there is a risk of cancer.
Vital vitamins and minerals such as biotin, folic acid, vitamins B2, B12 and K are also produced by the intestinal flora. And it plays a crucial role in our immune defense. Those who eat a healthy and balanced diet normally do not need to worry about the condition of their intestinal flora. But what about a one-sided junk food diet? A recent Dutch study by the University of Groningen, which is published on “gut.bmj.com”, has examined the relationships.
The researchers examined the relationship between diet and intestinal flora
Using stool samples, the researchers analyzed the intestinal flora of 1,425 test subjects. About 550 of them had diagnosed inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome. The participants documented their eating behavior in detail using extensive questionnaires. Once again, the connection between diet and intestinal health turned out to be crystal clear.
The diversity of the intestinal flora decreases
Everything that takes place in the intestinal flora depending on eating behavior is extremely complex – and this has also been known for a long time. Overall, the researchers therefore focused on a very limited section of 61 important bacterial species that are responsible for around 250 different metabolic processes. They observed one thing in particular. A diet that is mainly based on meat, salt and sugar, i.e. junk food, always leads to a reduction in the diversity of intestinal bacteria. And that’s not all.
Without dietary fiber, the intestinal lining suffers
There are strains of intestinal bacteria that are responsible for the utilization of so-called soluble fiber. Like conventional dietary fiber, these too cannot be completely broken down, i.e. digested, by the bacteria. Nevertheless, they draw nutrients from the material, which they then convert into fatty acids, which, for example, play a role in regulating cholesterol levels. But that’s not the real point. When these bacteria are virtually deprived of their nutritional basis through a virtually fiber-free junk food malnutrition, they begin to break down the intestinal mucosa. And that also turned out to be a major factor in many subjects who suffered from inflammatory bowel disease.
Another junk food attempt
As early as 2015, the then 23-year-old British medical student Tom Spector, as documented on “spiegel.de” among others, subjected himself to a self-experiment on this subject. He fed himself for ten days, that doesn’t seem like much, exclusively from fast food products, and during this period he had London’s King’s College examine the effects on his intestinal flora. Before the start of the experiment, there were around 3,500 types of microbes in his intestines; in the end there were around 1,300 fewer. As a result, Spector was not (yet) in acute health risk, but the facts are, as confirmed by the Groningen study, clear: Fast food massively reduces the diversity of the intestinal flora – and that in any case has negative long-term consequences for them Gut health, and inevitably also for the metabolism, such as the vitamin supply, and the immune system.
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