RSSWestern diet disrupts gut bacteria and causes inflammation

Posted on Wed, 2 Mar 16

Western diet disrupts gut bacteria and causes inflammation

A western diet resulted in overgrowth of pathogenic gut bacteria and increased inflammation, which helps explain links between high sugar, high fat diets and inflammatory bowel disease.  

Inflammatory bowel disease’s (IBD) a severe group of illnesses that are increasingly common and thought to be due in part to westernization of our diet. And it is clear that people with IBD have important differences in gut bacteria when compared to people without IBD, in particular overgrowth of bacteria linked to inflammation. However, exactly how diet, gut bacterial changes and inflammation could be linked is not quite clear. 

Shedding light on the issue a study published in the journal Scientific Reports explored what is going on. In the experiment researchers looked at the effects of a western diet on the gut bacteria of mice, they also looked at gut micro-inflammation. 

They discovered that the western diet created an overgrowth of pro-inflammatory bacteria (such as E. coli), a decrease in protective bacteria and created a specific inflammatory environment in the gut. And they also found that the Western diet led to an exacerbation of gut inflammation following chemically-induced colitis.

These results suggest that adverse changes in gut bacteria (termed dysbiosis) are central to the effects of processed, higher fat, higher sugar modern diets on gut health and the development of IBD. 


Agus A, Denizot J, Thévenot J, et al. Western diet induces a shift in microbiota composition enhancing susceptibility to Adherent-Invasive E. coli infection and intestinal inflammation. Sci Rep. 2016 Jan 8;6:19032.

Tags: Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Sugar, Fat, Western Diet, Dysbiosis

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