How Does Fasting Affect the Microbiome?

When it comes to the array of different microorganisms found in the human gut, more is better: A more diverse microbiome is a healthier microbiome. Now, initial results of a small, ongoing study suggests that weight loss through either intermittent fasting or a calorie-restricted diet can improve that diversity.

After tracking calorie-control dieters and intermittent fasters for three months, both had significantly improved microbiome diversity, said study author Maggie Stanislawski, an assistant professor of biomedical informatics at the University of Colorado.

“The increase wasn’t greater in one group or the other,” she said. Each individual has a unique population of microorganisms including bacteria, fungi and viruses, in his or her gut. “These microorganisms are important to our health because they help to digest our food,” Stanislawski said. In fact, “many foods that you eat you cannot digest without the help of those microorganisms,” she stressed.

Excerpted from U.S. News

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