The study found that the health of the microbiome is influenced by diet, and that the composition of the microbiome influences the risk of health outcomes. The results showed that specific gut microbes were associated with specific nutrients, foods, food groups, and overall diet composition. Health conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and general inflammation appeared to be most impacted by diet-influenced changes to the microbiome.
For example, less healthy dietary patterns (dairy desserts, unhealthy meats, processed foods) supported gut species that were associated with measures of blood sugar, cholesterol, and inflammation that are significantly associated with higher risk of cardiac events, strokes, and type 2 diabetes.
In contrast, a more diverse gut microbiome was tied to healthy dietary patterns (high-fiber vegetables like spinach and broccoli, nuts, and, heathy animal foods such as fish and eggs) and was linked to measurements tied to lower risk of certain chronic diseases. In addition, the study found that polyunsaturated fats (found in fish, walnuts, pumpkin, flax and chia seeds, sunflower, safflower, and unhydrogenated soybean oils) produce healthy gut species linked to a reduced risk of chronic disease.