The Importance of Soluble Fiber
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Healthy adults who eat a diverse diet with at least 8–10 grams of soluble fiber a day and lower levels of protein from beef and pork have fewer antibiotic-resistant microorganisms in their guts, according to an observational study published by USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists in mBio.
But the amount of animal protein in the diet was not a top predictor of high levels of microbes with antibiotic-resistant genes. The strongest evidence for the association was for higher amounts of soluble fiber. Microbes that have resistance to various commonly used antibiotics in the medical system are a significant source of risk for people worldwide, and these results bring to light the possibility that modifying the diet has the potential to be a new weapon in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.
The investigators also found that those people who had the highest levels of antibiotic-resistant microbes in their guts also had significantly less diverse gut microbiomes compared with groups with low levels of these troublesome microorganisms. Soluble fiber, as its name suggests, dissolves in water and is the main type of fiber found in:
- brussels sprouts
- chia seeds
- flax seeds
See also: Fiber Benefits Happen Fast
Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.