Diets like the Keto, Paleo and Atkins focus on high-fat, high-protein meals that are often low in carbohydrates. This mix may appeal to Clostridioides difficile bacteria, too.
In a new study published this week in mSystems , an open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, researchers report that mice fed a high-protein, high-fat diet were more likely to acquire a deadly C. difficile infection than mice eating a standard diet. Their findings also suggest that a diet high in carbohydrates protects against infection.
Every year in the United States, hundreds of thousands of people are diagnosed with C. difficile infections and more than 10,000 die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Taking antibiotics increases a person's risk of infection.
The researchers behind the new work caution that their study was done on mice and additional research is needed to establish a connection between these diets and infections in people. At the same time, they argue, it's an avenue of research that's important to explore.
We have to look at humans to see if it correlates. We know that people have been following these different extreme diets and we really don't have a good handle on what these changes are doing to our systems." Ernesto Abel-Santos, Ph.D., chemist, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)
"We know very well that diet affects the gut microbiome," added microbiologist Brian Hedlund, Ph.D., also at UNLV. Hedlund and Abel-Santos co-led the new study.
The group studied 4 groups of mice with 5 animals each. Each group received antibiotics and was fed a different diet: one was high-fat, high-protein; another was high-fat, low-protein; a third was high-carbohydrate; and the fourth was a standard laboratory diet for experimental mice. Related Stories
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