The role of diet on gut microbiota composition

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2016 Nov;20(22):4742-4749.


Gut microbiota is characterized by an inter-individual variability due to genetic and environmental factors. Among the environmental ones, dietary habits play a key role in the modulation of gut microbiota composition. There are main differences between the intestinal microbiota of subjects fed with prevalent Western diet and that of subjects with a diet rich in fibers. Specific changes in the composition of gut microbiota have been demonstrated among subjects according to a different dietary intake. A particular diet may promote the growth of specific bacterial strains, driving hosts to a consequent alteration of fermentative metabolism, with a direct effect on intestinal pH, which can be responsible for the development of a pathogenic flora. Moreover, a high-fat diet can promote the development of a pro-inflammatory gut microbiota, with a consequent increase of intestinal permeability and, consequently, of circulating levels of lipopolysaccharides. In this review, we discuss the direct role of the diet in the composition of gut microbiota and about the possible clinical consequences.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet*
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Intestines / chemistry
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Microbiota
  • Obesity / microbiology