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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Cooking shapes the structure and function of the gut microbiome

  • Author(s): Turnbaugh, Peter
  • et al.

Diet is a critical determinant of variation in gut microbial structure and function, outweighing even host genetics1-3. Numerous microbiome studies have compared diets with divergent ingredients1-5, but the everyday practice of cooking remains understudied. Here, we show that a plant diet served raw versus cooked reshapes the murine gut microbiome, with effects attributable to improvements in starch digestibility and degradation of plant-derived compounds. Shifts in the gut microbiota modulated host energy status, applied across multiple starch-rich plants, and were detectable in humans. Thus, diet-driven host-microbial interactions depend on the food as well as its form. Because cooking is human-specific, ubiquitous and ancient6,7, our results prompt the hypothesis that humans and our microbiomes co-evolved under unique cooking-related pressures.

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