Fast Food Devastates Your Gut Microbes

Fast Food Devastates Your Gut Microbes

One study shows how modern foods are turning our digestive tracks into ghost towns

A professor of genetic epidemiology at King's College London, Tim Spector, wanted to find out what happens to your gut if you eat only fast food, specifically McDonald's, for 10 solid days.

His son, Tom, became the willing guinea pig and reported his symptoms, as well as sent stool samples to different labs, throughout the 10-day trial. If you watched Morgan Spurlock's documentary "Super-Size Me," you probobably have an idea of how the experiment panned out...

"Tom said that for three days he felt ok, but then started to become more lethargic and turned a slight gray color according to his friends. He reported feeling bad the last few days and says he also experienced some withdrawl symptoms," TIME reported.

Nearly 100 trillion bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microorganisms compose your body's microflora, and advancing science has made it quite clear that these organisms play a major role in your health, both mental and physical. 

When you eat too many grains, sugars, and processed foods, these foods serve as "fertilizer" for pathogenic microorganisms and yeast, causing them to rapidly multiply. Meanwhile, microbial diversity is also important.

In one study, the hunger-gatherer Yanomami tribe -- which has never come in contact with outsiders prior to the researchers' arrival, and have never been exposed to antibiotics -- had about 50 percent greater microbial diversity than American subjects.

They also had 30 percent to 40 percent more diversity than the Guahibo and the Malawian tribes tribes, the latter two of which have adopted some Western lifestyle components, such as living indoors and using antibioitcs. According to one of the authors:

"As cultures around the world become more 'Western,' they lose bacteria species in their gut...At the same time, they start having higher incidences of chronic illnesses connected to the immune system, such as allergies, Crohn's disease, autoimmune disorders, and multiple sclerosis."

Echoing these sentiments were the results from Tom's stool samples during and after 10 days of a fast food diet. The results, from Cornell University and the British Gut Project, found his gut microbes were "devastated."

About 40 percent of his bacteria species were lost, which amounted to about 1,400 different types. Losses of microbial diversity such as this have been linked to diabetes and obesity.

Excerpted from Here's What Eating Nothing But McDonald's for 10 Days Does to Your Gut Bacteria on Learn more about why you need to ditch processed foods and get healthy. 


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