Research Category: Gut Microbiome

Potato-Resistant Starch Supplementation Improves Microbiota Dysbiosis, Inflammation, and Gut–Brain Signaling in High Fat-Fed Rats

(1) High-fat (HF) diet leads to gut microbiota dysbiosis which is associated with systemic inflammation. Bacterial-driven inflammation is sufficient to alter vagally mediated satiety and induce hyperphagia. Promoting bacterial fermentation improves gastrointestinal (GI) epithelial barrier function and reduces inflammation. Resistant starch escape digestion and can be fermented by bacteria in the distal gut. Therefore, we hypothesized that potato RS supplementation in HF-fed rats would lead to compositional changes in microbiota composition associated with improved inflammatory status and vagal signaling. (2) Male Wistar rats (n = 8/group) were fed a low-fat chow (LF, 13% fat), HF (45% fat), or an isocaloric HF supplemented with 12% potato RS (HFRS) diet. (3) The HFRS-fed rats consumed significantly less energy than HF animals throughout the experiment. Systemic inflammation and glucose homeostasis were improved in the HFRS compared to HF rats. Cholecystokinin-induced satiety was abolished in HF-fed rats and restored in HFRS rats. HF feeding led to a significant decrease in positive c fiber staining in the brainstem which was averted by RS supplementation. (4) The RS supplementation prevented dysbiosis and systemic inflammation. Additionally, microbiota manipulation via dietary potato RS prevented HF-diet-induced reorganization of vagal afferent fibers, loss in CCK-induced satiety, and hyperphagia.

In Nutrition, Can We “See” What Is Good for Us?

The selection of foods to eat is a complex interplay of vision, taste, smell, and texture. In addition to micro- and macronutrients, plant-based foods also contain several classes of phytochemicals. In many cases, the phytochemicals account for the various colors of foods. Although aesthetically pleasing, the color of foods may mislead consumers as to their phytochemical content, which is particularly true with regard to polyphenols. Polyphenols are a broad class of compounds with antioxidant and other health benefits. Human vision is limited to a small window (390–765 nm) of the electromagnetic spectrum. Many important phytochemicals (e.g., vitamin C) have no absorbance in this range. Therefore, the human eye cannot directly judge the vitamin C content of foods. Being able to see in the ultraviolet range allows bees to locate the pollen-rich region of flowers, whereas pit vipers locate their prey by being able to “see” them in the infrared range. Assessing the impact of phytochemicals on human health depends on several factors. Colorless phytochemicals in unprocessed foods may be lost during the cooking process because no visual guide exists to ensure their retention. The molecular structures of phytochemicals influence the extent to which they are altered by cooking processes and the methods by which they are absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. Extensive metabolism by phase I/II enzymes and by the gut microbiome may also create compounds that the eye is never allowed to appreciate.