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科学美国人：When Dining For Trillions, Eat Wisely
60秒科学节目（SSS）是科学美国人网站的一套广播栏目，英文名称：Scientific American - 60 Second Science,节目内容以科学报道为主，节目仅一分钟的时间，主要对当今的科学技术新发展作以简明、通俗的介绍，对于科学的发展如何影响人们的生活环境、健康状况及科学技术，提供了大量简明易懂的阐释。
You are what you eat, the old expression goes. But it leaves out one crucial detail. "We don't dine alone. We dine with trillions of friends." Jeff Gordon, a microbiologist at Washington University in St Louis. "And they are partners in consuming these meals and ingredients."
Those friends--they're microbes in our guts. They break down dinner, including otherwise indigestible stuff, and pass the leftovers on to more microbes. Creating a complex food web inside us.
But that microbial garden is a lot more diverse in people who eat a calorie-restricted, veggie-rich diet. The typical American diet on the other hand--breads, meat, cheese, not a lot of veggies--doesn't raise up near as diverse a crop of microbes.
And microbial diversity matters. Because in a mouse model, Gordon's team found that, if you give up the American diet, in favor of a healthier one with lots of veggies--the "Americanized" gut bacteria, being less diverse, aren't primed to respond. They're not great at regrouping, to accommodate all the nutrients in kale and broccoli and so on. The study is in the journal Cell Host & Microbe. [Nicholas W. Griffin et al, Prior Dietary Practices and Connections to a Human Gut Microbial Metacommunity Alter Responses to Diet Interventions]
All this isn't to say you shouldn't try to eat healthier. Because it's not clear how this microbial efficiency translates into human health. Or to what extent you might be able to pick up beneficial microbes from those around you, as they demonstrated mice can, in this study. But Gordon's colleague Nick Griffin had this prediction: "It's entirely possible that in the future we'll more and more recognize a need to reinstall absent populations of bacteria in people as they're looking to change their diet for benefits to health."
Until then - next time you're about to fertilize your microbial flora with a patty melt - you might just wanna do a gut check first.
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