Western Diet Woes: Food High in Fat, Meat and Sugar Fosters Bad Bacteria in Children

Western Diet Woes: Food High in Fat, Meat and Sugar Fosters Bad Bacteria in Children

The diet of the West, high in animal products, fat, salt and sugar, is increasingly associated with wealth and development.

The growing middle and upper classes in China are causing meat consumption to skyrocket in that country. Those with more disposable income in characteristically poor places buy more imported, packaged and processed foods, which all tend to be higher in salt, sugar and fat. Meat becomes more of a staple than a luxury. In contrast, the poor of the developing world generally eat traditional diets that are high in fruit and vegetables.

In the West it’s the opposite. The cheapest food is often the most processed and highest in sugars, salt, fat and chemical additives. Fresh, organic food is as much a status symbol as a way towards good health.

New research has shown that traditional diets, high in fresh produce, also help to fight disease in children, while Western fare actually promotes unhealthy gut bacteria.

From an article in the Economist:

In Africa fibre-rich meals of millet, legumes and other vegetables (enlivened by the occasional termite) fostered a diverse mix of bacteria. European children, who imbibed typically Western doses of sugar, fat and meat, had fewer microbial species.

A study by scientists at the University of Florence in Italy, comparing rural African to European children, sheds some light on why certain inflammatory diseases – such as allergies, bowel diseases, eczema and asthma – are more common in wealthy countries than in poor ones.

From an article in the Chicago Tribune:

The study builds on a body of evidence that human health relies heavily on the trillions of microorganisms living in and on our bodies. Only a fraction cause disease directly — many more help digest food, affect other bacteria and may influence hundreds of biological functions.

There is evidence that obesity is also connected with an imbalance of microbial bacteria in the gut.

Source : Green Fudge

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