What affects gut health? We’ve all heard about eating probiotics to promote gut health. But what about calorie consumption? Does that impact your gut health?

Study on What Affects Gut Health

A recent study revealed that eating too few calories may adversely impact your gut health.

• Researchers studied 80 older women whose weight ranged from slightly overweight to severely obese, and split them into two groups for 16 weeks.

• Half the participants followed a medically supervised meal replacement plan with shakes that totaled about 800 calories per day.

• The other half was a control group that maintained their usual habits and weight for those months.

• Gut bacteria analysis was done for all participants before and after the study period.

Results of Study About What Affects Gut Health

• After four months, the number and type of microorganisms in the control group were the same as they’d been at the start. But there were significant and problematic changes for the low-calorie diet group.

• For participants in the low-calorie group, the bacteria adapted to absorb more sugar molecules as a way to survive, creating an imbalance that promoted the increase of harmful bacterial strains.

• There was a particularly large increase in a type called Clostridioides difficile, also known as C. diff., which can cause diarrhea and colitis (inflammation of the inner lining of the colon).

• The Centers for Disease Control noted that this bacteria can become chronic even when treated regularly.

Researcher’s Analysis on Study of What Affects Gut Health

• This effect from low-cal eating is not surprising, according to Kristin Gillespie, R.D., dietitian and nutritional counselor. She told Bicycling that the quantity of food we consume is part of what keeps beneficial gut bacteria nourished.

• “The type and amount of foods we consume also feed our gut bacteria, which is why our diet plays such a large role in the composition and health of our gut microbiome,” she said.

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