Could we be carpet bombing our bacterial allies with Twinkies, french fries, and other examples of Western junk food? Maybe so, and it might be making us obese.
It’s an old axe that you are what you eat, but a growing body of evidence suggests that, in terms of our gut bacteria, it’s really true. Recent research shows that the standard ‘Western’ diet high in animal fat, sugars, and refined carbohydrates fundamentally alters the bacterial ecosystem in our intestines. The bacteria that thrive in the house that McDonald’s built are not only associated with obesity, but may actually excrete waste compounds that cause obesity.
So, what’s an overweight person to do? If they’ve still got healthy bacteria lurking around, a switch to whole grains, fruits and vegetables will do the trick. The truly desperate – those who find losing weight to be nigh impossible – they can try a fecal transplant from a skinny person. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. However, as the Western-style diet spreads, we may be experiencing a hidden mass extinction. French fries and candy bars are destroying the habitat of friendly bacteria that evolved with humans for millions of years.