Effect of a high-beef diet on the fecal bacterial flora of humans

Cancer Res. 1977 Feb;37(2):568-71.


Ten human volunteers completed a 4-month diet series consisting of 1 month each of a control diet, a meatless diet, a high-beef diet, and the same control diet. Fat and fiber contents were essentially the same in all four diets, but protein content was doubled during the high-beef diet. During the 4th week on each diet, three stool specimens collected from each volunteer were analyzed for chemical composition and content of facultative, aerobic, and anaerobic bacteria. The bacteriological data are presented in this paper. High beef protein consumption had little effect on the composition of the intestinal flora. There were no significant differences in total counts of facultative and aerobic or anaerobic organisms in the feces when volunteers were on meatless or high-beef diets. At the species level, when counts during the two control diets were comparable, in only three instances did the change from the meatless to a high-beef diet significantly influence the bacterial numbers. The ratio of mean counts of anaerobic to facultative and aerobic organisms was approximately 15:1 during the meatless diet and 34:1 during the high-meat diet. The data indicate that animal protein consumption has little effect on the fecal bacterial profile in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Bacteroides fragilis / isolation & purification
  • Clostridium / isolation & purification
  • Colonic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Diet
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins*
  • Eubacterium / isolation & purification
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Male
  • Meat*
  • Risk


  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins