Trending Topics pieces (Article Analyses, Evidence Clips and Other Topics) are published in timely response to recent media and journal articles, position statements, clinical guidelines, etc. Since they are based on the most recent evidence/publications, they may not be consistent with PEN evidence in other PEN content areas. As soon as possible, when this occurs, the PEN content will be reviewed and updated as needed.
The Science and Politics of Nutrition Series - The History of Nutrition Science
The BMJ has launched a series of open access, peer-reviewed articles under the title, Food for Thought - The Science and Politics of Nutrition. The series covered a variety of controversial nutrition topics where there are uncertainties in the evidence and debate among experts. The articles aim to bring together a wide range of viewpoints and to discuss the areas of consensus and uncertainty as well as how to move forward with research, policy and guidelines for practitioners. The first article of the series describes the history of nutrition science and how this history has formed our current understanding of
diet and health as well as the current controversies that we deal with every day.
Note: This is the first article in the launch of a series of articles. We will post other appropriate articles in the coming weeks and months. These articles cover topics ranging from the role of carbohydrates in chronic disease to the quality of dietary guidelines. The complete collection of articles can be downloaded from Food for Thought.
The American Gut Project is the first crowd-funded, citizen scientist cohort that examined the microbial sequence data of 15,096 samples from >10,000 human participants from the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. The researchers set out to examine the diversity of the industrialized human microbiome, and to look for associations between health, lifestyle and dietary factors. The researchers found that participants who reported consuming ≥30 different types of plant species each week had greater microbial diversity than those who reported consuming only ≤10 types of plant species weekly. Self-categorization of diet as “vegan” or “omnivore” had less of an impact on microbial diversity than quantification of the numbers of plant species consumed. The hypothesized implications of having greater microbial diversity is that more microbial species may be available to act as the fermenters of short-chain fatty acids. Therefore, a diet containing a variety of dietary fibres and resistant starches is likely to contribute to a more diverse microbial community. In addition, the participants who reported eating >30 types of plants per week had a significantly lower abundance of bacteria that carry antibiotic-resistant genes. This observational study cannot conclude causality but provides some food for thought related to dietary practices and future research focused on microbial diversity and health.
See Additional Content: Gastrointestinal System – Microbiota Background