New research from the Washington University School of Medicine found that a western diet, one rich in sugars and fats, impairs the immune system in the gut. Scientists found that the diet could increase the risk of infection and inflammatory bowel disease.
Scientists found that diets high in sugar and fat damaged the Paneth cells, the immune cells in the gut that help keep inflammation low. Without Paneth cells functioning property, the gut can be prone to increased inflammation, which puts people at risk of inflammatory bowel disorder.
“Inflammatory bowel disease has historically been a problem primarily in Western countries such as the U.S., but it’s becoming more common globally as more and more people adopt Western lifestyles,” said lead author Ta-Chiang Liu, MD, Ph.D., an associate professor of pathology & immunology at Washington University. “Our research showed that long-term consumption of a Western-style diet high in fat and sugar impairs the function of immune cells in the gut in ways that could promote inflammatory bowel disease or increase the risk of intestinal infections.”
Scientists emphasize that a high-fat, high-sugar diet affects the Paneth cells. “Eating too much of a healthy diet didn’t affect the Paneth cells. It was the high-fat, high-sugar diet that was the problem,” said Liu.
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