A team of researchers from Florence University in Italy have found that the modern Western diet of high-sugar, low-fiber processed foods is contributing to allergies and other problems not seen in those who eat more primitive diets. According to study results, junk foods alter beneficial gut bacteria, which in turn disrupts normal digestive function.
Compared to children in a small village in Burkina Faso, Africa, who eat primitive diets, children in industrialized countries who consume lots of modern junk food are more prone to allergies, based on study findings. In fact, the bacterial compositions found in junk food-eating children are actually causing obesity, allergies, eczema, inflammation, autoimmune disorders and other illnesses.
Primitive diets composed mostly of cereals, beans, nuts and healthy vegetables — the kind eaten by the African children — help to properly balance gut bacteria. But diets rich in bad fats and processed sugars — the kind eaten by most industrialized children today — disrupt this healthy bacteria and replace it with harmful bacteria.
Interestingly, only industrialized children who were still being breastfed by their mothers had a bacterial composition that even somewhat resembled the composition of what the African children had. The rest had an entirely different bacterial makeup in their systems.
According to the report, gut bacteria is a vital “organ” that processes food, protects the body from disease and inflammation, and maintains health and immunity. When this bacteria is disrupted by regular consumption of bad foods, the floodgates are thrown wide open for disease to proliferate in the body.
“The gastrointestinal microflora plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of [inflammatory bowel disease] IBD and recent studies demonstrate obesity is associated with imbalance in the normal gut microbiota,” researchers explain in their study paper.