Exploring changes in the human gut microbiota and microbial-derived metabolites in response to diets enriched in simple, refined, or unrefined carbohydrate-containing foods: a post hoc analysis of a randomized clinical trial

Tyler Faits, Maura E Walker, Jose Rodriguez-Morato, Huicui Meng, Julie E Gervis, Jean M Galluccio, Alice H Lichtenstein, W Evan Johnson, Nirupa R Matthan
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2020 September 16

BACKGROUND: Dietary carbohydrate type may influence cardiometabolic risk through alterations in the gut microbiome and microbial-derived metabolites, but evidence is limited.

OBJECTIVES: We explored the relative effects of an isocaloric exchange of dietary simple, refined, and unrefined carbohydrate on gut microbiota composition/function, and selected microbial metabolite concentrations.

METHODS: Participants [n = 11; age: 65 ± 8 y; BMI (in kg/m2): 29.8 ± 3.2] were provided with each of 3 diets for 4.5 wk with 2-wk washout, according to a randomized, crossover design. Diets [60% of energy (%E) carbohydrate, 15%E protein, and 25%E fat] differed in type of carbohydrate. Fecal microbial composition, metatranscriptomics, and microbial-derived SCFA and secondary bile acid (SBA) concentrations were assessed at the end of each phase and associated with cardiometabolic risk factors (CMRFs).

RESULTS: Roseburia abundance was higher (11% compared with 5%) and fecal SBA concentrations were lower (lithocolic acid -50% and deoxycholic acid -64%) after consumption of the unrefined carbohydrate diet relative to the simple carbohydrate diet [false discovery rate (FDR): all P < 0.05), whereas Anaerostipes abundance was higher (0.35% compared with 0.12%; FDR: P = 0.04) after the simple carbohydrate diet relative to the refined carbohydrate diet. Metatranscriptomics indicated upregulation of 2 cellular stress genes (FDR: P < 0.1) after the unrefined carbohydrate diet compared with the simple carbohydrate or refined carbohydrate diets. The microbial expression of 3 cellular/oxidative stress and immune response genes was higher (FDR: P < 0.1) after the simple carbohydrate diet relative to the refined carbohydrate diet. No significant diet effect was observed in fecal SCFA concentrations. Independent of diet, we observed 16 associations (all FDR: P < 0.1) of taxon abundance (15 phylum and 1 genera) with serum inflammatory markers and also with fecal SCFA and SBA concentrations.

CONCLUSIONS: Consuming an unrefined carbohydrate-rich diet had a modest effect on the gut microbiome and SBAs, resulting in favorable associations with selected CMRFs. Simple carbohydrate- and refined carbohydrate-rich diets have distinctive effects on the gut microbiome, suggesting differential mechanisms mediate their effects on cardiometabolic health. This trial was registered at as NCT01610661.

Full Text Links

We have located links that may give you full text access.


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"