Completely uncooked or completely ready? How meals preparation impacts the microbiome

According to a team of scientists led by the University of California at San Francisco and Harvard University, the gut microbiome changes rapidly and dramatically in species composition and gene expression when the host switches between cooked or raw vegetables. Their new study, published in Nature Microbiology, is the first to examine how this aspect of diet affects the microbiome, and included experiments in both mice and humans.

The scientists also observed that mice drank off raw vegetables during their stay (groups of animals were fed boiled and raw sweet potatoes, white potatoes, corn, peas, carrots and beets), but when the microbiomes of these newly slender mice were transplanted in others Mice gained the new hosts – an unexpected result that exemplarily shows how complex the interplay between intestinal microbes and host metabolism is and requires further investigation. Interestingly, other experiments within the study showed that gut microbiomes change very little when switching from cooked to raw meat, although previous research has shown that cooking affects the nutrients and bioactive compounds in meat.

“‘Raw’ diets are becoming an increasingly popular nutritional trend for certain health benefits compared to a traditional cooked food diet, and the microbiome and metabolic differences shown in this article begin to shed light on some of the possible underlying mechanisms.” said co-author Katherine Louie, a researcher in the Berkeley Lab’s Biosciences Area. Louie, along with three other Berkeley Lab employees, performed molecular analyzes to determine how cooking affects the metabolites and phytochemicals found in vegetables and tubers.


Reference: “Cooking shapes the structure and function of the intestinal microbiome” by Rachel N. Carmody, Jordan E. Bisanz, Benjamin P. Bowen, Corinne F. Maurice, Svetlana Lyalina, Katherine B. Louie, Daniel Treen and Katia S. Chadaideh Vayu Maini Rekdal, Elizabeth N. Bess, Peter Spanogiannopoulos, Qi Yan Ang, Kylynda C. Bauer, Thomas W. Balon, Katherine S. Pollard, Trent R. Northen and Peter J. Turnbaugh, September 30, 2019, Nature Microbiology.
DOI: 10.1038 / s41564-019-0569-4

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