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Human gut bacteria seem to be picky eaters

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People who eat a diet high in fats and animal protein tend to have a different group of bacteria flourishing in their gut compared with those who eat a mostly plant-based diet, researchers have found.

Researchers suspect that the microbes within us affect our vulnerability to infectious disease and interact with the immune system. The new study was part of the scientific effort to try to understand how bacteria interact with their human hosts. One type of bacteria preferred the guts of people eating a carnivorous diet high in saturated fat while another type of bacteria thrived on a carbohydrate-based diet.

Either of two specific types of microbes seem to take over the human gut and dominate, the study in this week's online issue of the journal Science suggests.

The investigators found that although the gut microbial communities changed slightly within 24 hours of the diet switch, peoples' enterotypes stayed largely the same over the 10-day study.

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