Children who eat Western foods are more likely to develop allergies and obesity, according to a new study.
Scientists compared the health status of children from an African village and another group living in Florence and found a striking difference.
African children were not prone to obesity, asthma, eczema and other allergic reactions. They lived in a small village in Burkina Faso and their diet consisted mainly of grains, legumes, nuts and vegetables.
And the little Italians ate a lot of meat, fat and sugar, their diet contained little fiber. Paediatrician Dr. Paolo Lionetti of the University of Florence and colleagues noted that children in industrialized countries who eat low-fiber, high-sugar foods lose a significant portion of their microbial wealth, and this is directly related to the rise in allergic and inflammatory diseases in recent years. half a century.
They said: “Western developed countries have been successfully fighting infectious diseases since the second half of the last century with antibiotics, vaccines and improved sanitation. At the same time, there has been an increase in new diseases such as allergic, autoimmune and inflammatory bowel diseases in adults and children. Improved hygiene, together with a decrease in microbial diversity, is believed to be the cause of these diseases in children. The gastrointestinal microflora plays an important role in metabolism, and recent studies show that obesity is associated with the state of the intestinal microflora.”
The researchers added: “Lessons learned from studying Burkina Faso’s childhood microbiota have proven the importance of sampling from regions where the impact of globalization on nutrition is less profound to conserve microbial biodiversity. Globally, diversity has survived only in the most ancient communities where gastrointestinal infections are a matter of life and death, and this is a goldmine for research aimed at elucidating the role of the gut microflora in the delicate balance between health and disease.”