Differences in the gut microbiota of women according to ultra-processed food consumption

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2023 Jan;33(1):84-89. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2022.09.025. Epub 2022 Oct 11.


Background and aims: High consumption of ultra-processed food (UPF) has been associated with increased risk of obesity and other metabolic diseases, and this dietary pattern seems to be responsible for chronic changes in the gut microbiota. The aim of this study was to assess the associations of UPF with the gut microbiota and obesity-associated biometrics in women.

Methods and results: This cross-sectional study examined 59 women. The following parameters were evaluated: food consumption using NOVA classification, anthropometric and metabolic parameters, and gut microbiome by next-generation sequencing. The mean age was 28.0 ± 6.6 years. The mean caloric intake was 1624 ± 531 kcal, of which unprocessed or minimally processed food (G1) accounted for 52.4 ± 13.5%, and UPF accounted for 31.4 ± 13.6%. Leptin levels adjusted for fat mass were negatively associated with G1 and positively associated with UPF. We found 15 species in the gut microbiota that correlated with G1 (3 positively and 12 negatively) and 9 species associated with UPF (5 positively and 4 negatively).

Conclusion: Higher consumption of UPF was directly associated with leptin resistance, and this study suggests that the consumption of UPF or G1 may affect the composition of the gut microbiota.

Keywords: Gut bacteria; Microbiota; Obesity; Ultra-processed food.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet
  • Energy Intake
  • Fast Foods / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Food Handling
  • Food, Processed
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Leptin*
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Leptin