High protein, low carb, calorie restricted diets linked to positive gut outcomes, study asserts

The research was published in the journal Biomedicines​. It was the work of researchers associated with several hospitals, universities and research institutes in France.

The goal of the research was to document the shifts in microbiome makeup among more than 200 subjects who were undergoing a ‘real world’ weight loss program. All of the subjects were following calorie-restricted diets and some of them were using a probiotic supplement as well.

The researchers based their study design on the use of enterotypes to characterize the makeup of gut bacterial species. This concept was first put forward in a 2011 paper published in the journal Nature​​​ by a group led by German researcher Peer Bork, PhD, which postulated that the distribution of species within the human gut could be put into several different buckets he termed ‘enterotypes.’ These then could be states number more easily linked to disease and health outcomes as opposed to effecting looking at human gut microbiome makeups on a line with a broad and, presumably, unwieldy distribution.

Are ‘enterotypes’ valid?

The validity of the concept has been challenged by other microbiome researchers, notably in a 2014 paper by a group led by Rob Knight, PhD​​ , now with the University of California, San Diego. That paper argued that, while the concept is undeniably attractive, “[S]everal different methods of collapsing enterotype variation into a few discrete clusters suggest that enterotype distribution is continuous and can vary widely within an individual.”

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