The impact of diet on the gut microbiota has usually been assessed by subjecting people to the same controlled diet and thereafter following the shifts in the microbiota. In the present study, we used habitual dietary intake, clinical data, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) to characterize the stool microbiota of Finnish monozygotic twins. The effect of diet on the numbers of bacteria was described through a hierarchical linear mixed model that included the twin individuals, stratified by body mass index, and their families as random effects. The abundance and diversity of the bacterial groups studied did not differ between normal-weight, overweight, and obese individuals with the techniques used. Intakes of energy, monounsaturated fatty acids, n3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), n6 PUFAs, and soluble fiber had significant associations with the stool bacterial numbers (e.g., increased energy intake was associated with reduced numbers of Bacteroides spp.). In addition, co-twins with identical energy intake had more similar numbers and DGGE-profile diversities of Bacteroides spp. than did the co-twins with different intake. Moreover, the co-twins who ingested the same amounts of saturated fatty acids had very similar DGGE profiles of Bacteroides spp., whereas the co-twins with similar consumption of fiber had a very low bifidobacterial DGGE-profile similarity. In conclusion, our findings confirm that the diet plays an important role in the modulation of the stool microbiota, in particular Bacteroides spp. and bifidobacteria.
Simoes, C. D., Maukonen, J., Kaprio, J., Rissanen, A., Pietiläinen, K. H., & Saarela, M. (2013). Habitual dietary intake is associated with stool microbiota composition inmonozygotic twins. Journal of Nutrition, 143(4), 417-423. https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.112.166322