Much research has provided plausible biologic mechanisms linking diet to the composition of the gut microbiome. However, few studies have examined the relation of dietary patterns, the presence of prediabetes, and gut microbiota composition. A recently published study in The Journal of Nutrition confirms that adherence to a healthy diet is associated with a higher abundance of certain gut bacteria and a lower prevalence of prediabetes.

Based on 4-d food records, researcher Ulrika Ericson (Lund University) and colleagues identified 2 dietary patterns: A Health-conscious and a Sugar/High-Fat Dairy pattern. The Health-conscious food pattern included fruits/berries, nuts/seeds, vegetables/legumes, yogurt/cheese, and high-fiber grains, whereas the Sugar and High-fat Dairy pattern was characterized by high intakes of pastry/desserts, high-fat milk/cream, low-fiber bread, potatoes, and processed/red meat. In addition to dietary data collected in this Swedish population-based study of 1726 adult men and women, clinical measurements including fecal samples were collected. Prediabetes classification was based on fasting glucose and/or glycated hemoglobin.

Significant associations with the gut microbiota were detected in relation to the Health-conscious dietary pattern and not the Sugar and High-Fat Dairy pattern. Study results can be summarized as follows: 1) participants with high scores on the Health-conscious dietary patterns were less likely to present with prediabetes, and 2) higher scores of the Health-conscious dietary pattern were related to an abundance of bacteria linked with a lower prevalence of prediabetes. Significant associations with the microbiota and the Sugar and High -Fat Dairy pattern were not found. However, adherence to the Sugar and High-Fat Dairy pattern was associated with a higher prevalence of prediabetes in women. A corresponding editorial by Gertraud Maskarinec and Meredith Hullar commended this study for providing novel information that links dietary patterns, type 2 diabetes risk, and the gut microbiome and compared the results to a recent report from the Multiethnic Cohort.

References Ericson U, Brunkwall L, Hellstrand S, Nilsson PM, Orho-Mehander M. A Health-Conscious Food Pattern Is Associated with Prediabetes and Gut Microbiota in the Malmo Offspring Study.  J Nutr. 2019 Dec 18 (Epub ahead of print; DOI:   

Phillips Maskarinec G and Hullar MAJ. Understanding the Interaction of Diet Quality with the Gut Microbiome and Their Effect on Disease. J Nutr. 2020 Jan 31 (Epub ahead of print; DOI: