Low-carb diets are destroying your gut: New findings
A low-carb diet is the biggest trend of the moment, proven to help you lose weight fast, boost your metabolism, and improve cardiovascular and cognitive function.
However, the latest study has found a diet low in carbs and high in fat may actually be damaging your gut microbiota.
To conduct the study, researchers designed an artificial intestine, or gut simulator, and used faecal samples from donors to recreate the bacterial environment found inside the human colon.
They then added nutrients from a balanced Western diet, and as well as from a diet exclusively made from fats and no carbs or protein.
The scientists applied a range of cutting-edge technologies to examine and measure the composition of metabolites resulting from changing the nutrients.
The results, published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, found switching from a balanced diet to a high-fat, no-carb diet increased strains of bacteria that metabolise fatty acids.
Moreover, it also lowered good bacteria such as Bacteroides, Clostridium, and Roseburia, which are responsible for degrading protein and carbs.
The study's authors explained that changing to a fat-only diet such as the Keto diet, reduced the production of short-chain fatty acids and antioxidants that fight DNA damage and ageing.
"[This] led to a substantial decrease in the production of [short-chain fatty acids] and antioxidants in the colonic region of the gut, which might potentially have negative health consequences on the host," said the study's corresponding author Dr Oleg Paliy, associate professor at Wright State University's Boonshoft School of Medicine.
"Intestinal microbes mediate many dietary effects on human health. There, most of these compounds are fermented by gut bacteria.
"This happens," Paliy notes, "because a significant proportion of dietary carbohydrates, proteins, and fats escapes digestion in the small intestine, and reaches the colon, a section of the gut housing a dense population of microbes."