Today's obesity epidemic is driven by increased consumption of foods that are high in fat and low in soluble fiber, which alters the makeup of the gut microbiome.
These changes also vary by age and sex, causing differences in susceptibility to obesity.
Unfortunately, most animal studies compare diets that vary in both fat and fiber, making it difficult to determine which has an effect.
Now, a new study suggests that fiber could play the more prominent role.
The authors of the study profiled the microbial community in mice fed diets varying in either fiber or fat, but not both.
16S rRNA sequencing revealed that changes in fiber accounted for most of the variance in microbes.
While these changes were age- and sex-specific, they were not dependent on dietary fat.
Although further studies are needed to fully understand these effects, the results suggest that in animal obesity studies, the choice of control diet matters.
Providing insight into the critical interactions between diet, sex, and age on the gut microbiota and metabolism