Old Fashioned vs. Ultra-Processed-Based Current Diets: Possible Implication in the Increased Susceptibility to Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease in Childhood

Foods. 2017 Nov 15;6(11):100. doi: 10.3390/foods6110100.


Ultra-processed foods are ready-to-heat and ready-to-eat products created to replace traditional homemade meals and dishes due to convenience and accessibility. Because of their low-fiber and high-fat and sugar composition, these foodstuffs could induce a negative impact on health. They are partially responsible for obesity and chronic non-transmissible diseases; additionally, they could impact in the prevalence of autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. The rationale is that the nutritional composition of ultra-processed foodstuffs can induce gut dysbiosis, promoting a pro-inflammatory response and consequently, a "leaky gut". These factors have been associated with increased risk of autoimmunity in genetically predisposed children. In addition, food emulsifiers, commonly used in ultra-processed products could modify the gut microbiota and intestinal permeability, which could increase the risk of autoimmunity. In contrast, unprocessed and minimally processed food-based diets have shown the capacity to promote gut microbiota eubiosis, anti-inflammatory response, and epithelial integrity, through bacterial butyrate production. Thus, to decrease the susceptibility to autoimmunity, genetically predisposed children should avoid ultra-processed food products and encourage the consumption of fresh and minimally processed foods.

Keywords: autoimmunity risk; celiac disease; microbiota; type 1 diabetes; ultra-processed food products.

Publication types

  • Review