Weekend Bingeing Just as Bad as Regular Junk Food Diet

When it comes to gut health, bingeing on the weekends is just as bad as a regular diet that includes junk food, according to new research.

A study from the University of South Wales (UNSW) found that yo-yo dieting, or bouncing back and forth from good to bad eating habits, impacted the gut the same way that a consistent bad diet would.

"The findings indicate that intermittent exposure to junk food three days a week is sufficient to extensively shift the gut microbiota towards the pattern seen in obese rats consuming the diet continuously," said Professor Margaret Morris, Head of Pharmacology at UNSW.

Gut diversity and diabetes

Gut flora - also called a person's microbiome - in linked to various health outcomes. Many studies now suggest that a poor or non-diverse microbiome can actually cause diabetes, inflammation, food sensitivities and other conditions. One study from the University of Iowa published last year found that the gut may even regulate how many calories a person burns while both active and asleep.

The current study analyzed the microbiota of rats who were either fed a constant junk food diet or a healthy diet that was interrupted by periods of junk-food bingeing. The "cycled" rats not only had altered gut bacteria similar to the rats on the steady junk food diet, but they also showed significant changes in their food intake - sometimes eating a lot more and sometimes a lot less - comparied with rats who were only on a healthy diet.

More research on how dieting affects microbiome changes would be helpfull, Morris said, especially if used in strategies to treat obesity or diabetes.

"The study suggests certain gut microbiota...may be promising targets for future therapeutic strategies to treat metabolic disorders," she concluded.

Source: UNSW

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