Recent studies report that microbiota in the human intestine play an important role in host health and that both long- and short-term diets influence gut microbiota. These findings have fueled interest in the potential of food to promote health by shaping the intestinal microbiota. Despite the fact that large populations in Asia consume high quantities of carbohydrates, such diets have been ignored in comparison to the attention received by Western diets containing high quantities of fat and animal protein. We gathered data that suggest an association between imbalanced high-carbohydrate intake and gut microbiota and host health. In this review, we identify not only the effect of total carbohydrates on the intestinal microbiota specifically and the health of their hosts in general, but also how specific types of carbohydrates influence both factors.
Keywords: dietary fiber; gut; high-carbohydrate diet; metabolic disorder; microbiota; starch; sweetener.