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A fiber-rich diet promotes the intestinal flora
In a current study, an international team of researchers shows how a Chinese diet has a positive effect on the intestinal flora and thus on overall human health. The key messages of the study are:
- Intestinal bacteria that are promoted by fiber alleviate type 2 diabetes.
- A high fiber diet can lead to more efficient weight loss.
- Dietary fiber can rebalance an unbalanced intestinal flora.
- The study offers a new analytical method to study the relationship between intestinal flora and chronic metabolic disorders.
The six-year study was led by Rutgers University in New Jersey and supported by Jiao Tong University in Shanghai. The study team showed that fiber re-balances the intestinal flora and can thus achieve a multitude of positive aspects. In addition to better blood sugar control and fat reduction, the so-called HbA1c value could also be reduced. This value indicates how high the average blood sugar value has been over the past few weeks and is an important measurement value to check, especially for diabetics. The results of the study were recently published in the scientific journal "Science".
Fibers should be an important part of the diet
"Our study lays the foundation and opens up the possibility that fibers that target certain intestinal bacteria should become an important part of general nutrition," explains Liping Zhao, professor at the Faculty of Biochemistry and Microbiology at Rutgers University in New Brunswick in a press release on the study results.
Course of the study
Zhao, together with scientists from Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, examined patients with type 2 diabetes. The 27 subjects were divided into two groups. In one group, participants received a large amount of different types of fiber, along with a balanced diet. A control group of 16 people received a standard diet based on general nutritional recommendations.
Microbes eat too
"Leafy greens, whole grains, fruits with fibers: there is a lot of evidence that microbes digest food that our bodies cannot digest," comments Dr. Lynn Bry, director of the Massachusetts Host Microbiome Center at Harvard University said the study results. When eating, not only your own body is cared for, but also the microorganisms of the intestinal flora are fed.
Lose weight with a high fiber diet
Already twelve weeks after the start of the study, the participants from the high-fiber diet group experienced a greater drop in blood sugar levels than the control group. Fasting blood sugar levels also dropped faster in the fiber group and they lost more weight.
Targeted structure of the intestinal flora
From the group of intestinal bacteria that produce short-chain fatty acids, the researchers were able to identify 15 out of 141 strains that are said to play a key role in better health. The targeted promotion of these strains led to increased insulin production and better blood sugar control, according to the scientists.
Appetite control through bacteria
"Many bacteria break down carbohydrates like fiber and produce short-chain fatty acids that nourish the intestinal cells," the researchers sum up. This would reduce inflammation and control appetite.
Can diabetes be cured soon?
Further studies are already being planned to determine whether changes in the intestinal flora can be used specifically to treat type 2 diabetes. The scientists may even be able to cure type 2 diabetes. (vb)