Image of fast food from mcdonald's take out

Burgers again? You have GUT to be kidding me!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Imagine you’re seven again. Mom’s in the drive through for fast food. Can’t wait for those fries and milkshakes! 

By contrast, . . . “adulting” means avoiding such fatty, carby treats. But is it possible that CHILDHOOD diets can affect gut bacteria in adulthood?

Enter Monica McNamara and her colleagues at UC Riverside.

These scientists raised some mice on what they called a “juvenile Western diet” — think hamburgers and cake. Other mice were raised on a healthier diet rich in whole grains, proteins and vitamins. After six weeks, both groups ate healthy for eight weeks. 

Scientists then tested mouse poop for bacterial DNA. Afterwards, they compared how much gut bacteria were present!

Results? Western-fed mice had fewer gut microbes than those that ate the healthier diet! 

Looks like starting your mice — er, your kids — off with bacteria-friendly eating habits COULD lead to a life-long healthy, happy gut!

Talk about course-correcting!

Reference: McNamara, M. P., Singleton, J. M., Cadney, M. D., Ruegger, P. M., Borneman, J., & Garland, T. (2021). Early-life effects of juvenile Western diet and exercise on adult gut microbiome composition in mice. Journal of Experimental Biology, 224(4).