I think it’s important to understand the impact of the “American” or Western diet on gut biodiversity. Research conducted at a Minnesota university found that when immigrants move to the US, the biodiversity of their gut microbiome changed. People living in Europe, South America, Asia, or Africa often have different lifestyles and diets before emigrating to the US. Suddenly, they are having burgers, beer, pizza, artificial sugar, and other junk food. These are foods that weren’t a big part of their life before.
The most significant alterations in gut biodiversity occurred in people who came from less developed countries and relocated to the US. The study found that the most significant shift was in a class of bacteria called Bacteroides. The Bacteroides numbers increased, and the numbers of Prevotella bacteria decreased.
Prevotella predominately belongs to those who are vegetarian, vegan or plant-based fiber eaters. Bacteroides are found more commonly in meat-eaters. More acid-forming diets encourage Bacteroides production.
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An interesting study out of New Zealand found that people with colon cancer have extremely high levels of a particular type of Bacteroides in their colon. That finding doesn’t prove that meat causes bowel cancer, but it certainly points heavily in that direction.
When I first started studying nutrition a long time ago, it became evident that people who have a varied and predominantly plant-based diet, have a much more biodiverse intestinal tract than someone eating an “American” diet. Having a highly diverse collection of gut bacteria gives a person a great advantage. It allows the body to have a whole lot more bacteria producing the enzymes that facilitate digestion and release nutrients to the body. Good gut bacteria likely offer many more benefits that haven’t been discovered yet.
The bottom line is this: if you want to have a healthy digestive system, you really need to focus on plant-based foods and fresh, clean water without chlorine. Unfortunately, water in American is often contaminated with 100s of pharmaceutical drugs. That’s not a drink you want to have.