If you like eating the same kind of food over and over again, you may be exposing yourself to greater risk of contracting common diseases, including type 2 diabetes, obesity and inflammatory bowel disease, scientists have found.

Reduced microbiotic richness in the human gut is the cause behind this development and scientists believe this is largely due to the decreased dietary diversity in modern times. “Changes in farming practices over the last 50 years have resulted in decreased agro-diversity which, in turn, has resulted in decreased dietary diversity,” a PTI report on the matter said.

The report went on to talk about the work done by Mark Heiman from biotechnology company MicroBiome Therapeutics and Frank Greenway of the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre in US. The duo described said the lowered richness of human gut microbiota, the community of micro-organisms living in the gut, is responsible for a number of aspects of metabolic health and well-being.

Healthy individuals have more diverse gut microbiota, according to the research, and linked some of 21st century’s most common diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and inflammatory bowel disease to reduced microbiotic richness. “Highly specialised diets will change the landscape of the gut microbiome over time. In fact, it takes only a few days of changing diet to alter the micro biotic makeup of the human gut. If the dietary change involves elimination of one or more macronutrients, humans are essentially selecting for some micro biotic species over others,” the report adds.

A Medical News Today article about the paper goes into further detail. “Moreover, the microbiome also produces unique compounds that convey signals important for the body’s metabolism – the set of chemical reactions that go on inside our cells that keep them working and alive.” Scientists, the report suggests, that this microbiota should be considered an organ by itself, so vital is its role in maintaining a delicate balance within the metabolic system.

So is there a theoretical lower limit to the diversity of microbiota that can be considered a benchmark? “The greater the repertoire of signals, the more likely is the ability to maintain homeostasis when dietary intake is perturbed,” researchers added.

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