Eating and Drinking on Weekends is Bad for Your Intestines

This study was recently published in the Journal of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research and studied the effects of this wobbly diet on the gut microbiota in rats. This is the first time that continuous or irregular exposure to unhealthy diets has an impact on the composition of the gut microbiota.

The results of the survey are instructive, but first back to the microbiota.

Why is the microbiome important?

Although the actual number of microorganisms has been the subject of recent debate, it is believed that as many as 100 trillion microorganisms live in the human intestine.

These microorganisms affect metabolism, nutrition and immune function. More and more evidence shows that they are also important for our mental health.

On the other hand, the destruction of intestinal microflora is related to intestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and obesity.

In addition to diet, we know that our genetic makeup, antibiotic use, and hygiene are also likely to shape microbial communities. Recent studies on chimpanzees have shown that who you live with has the same effect on the composition of the microbial community as your parents have on you.

Exercise has also been proven to affect the diversity and types of bacteria in the intestines.

Junk food changes the microbiome

The role of the microbiome in obesity is of course controversial-because it is difficult to prove cause and effect. Research in humans is also a challenge.

However, a study showed that transferring the microbiota from an obese person to a thin mouse recipient caused obesity in mice.

The laboratory recently discovered that a long-term high-fat diet in rats has caused a major change in the gut microbiota. These changes are not only related to weight gain and extra fat, but also to changes in key hormones that regulate metabolism (such as insulin).

Overeating on weekends

Armed with this knowledge, our next question is to see what happens when animals eat low-fat food for 4 days a week, and then “bind” with high-fat food for 3 days, like a long weekend feast.

The researchers compared the abundance of microorganisms in the three groups of rats. They were the group eating healthy food continuously, the junk food group (cakes, biscuits, mince pies, snacks, potato chips), and the circulating group (healthy food for 4 days and 3. Days of junk food), lasting more than 16 weeks.

The rats in the circulation group had large fluctuations in food intake, and consumed 30% more energy than those rats that only ate a healthy diet.

When the rats in the circulation group switched to a healthy diet, they only ate half of the healthy diet.

At the end of the study, rats in the circulation group gained less weight than those in the junk food group, but still 18% heavier than the rats who only ate a healthy diet. The levels of their main metabolic hormones (such as leptin and insulin) were between the two groups fed junk food or healthy food.

However, the situation of the intestinal flora shows a different pattern-any contact with junk food is sufficient to change the characteristics of intestinal organisms. In other words, the microbiota of rats in the circulating group was almost the same as the junk food group. The junk food diet also reduces the number of microbes that can metabolize flavonoids, which not only help weight loss, but also play a protective role in the brain.

What does this mean for humans?

If the same phenomenon happens to humans, those who strictly control their diets during the week may fall short by eating junk food on weekends.

The good news is that the status of the intestinal flora will change relatively quickly, so we have the ability to introduce healthy lifestyle measures to improve intestinal health. Eating unprocessed food, including enough fiber, avoiding excessive alcohol and adequate exercise is the key.