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Interindividual variation in the composition of the human gut microbiome was examined in relation to demographic and anthropometric traits, and to changes in dietary saturated fat intake and protein source. One hundred nine healthy men and women aged 21 to 65, with BMIs of 18 to 36, were randomized, after a two-week baseline diet, to high (15% total energy [E])- or low (7%E)-saturated-fat groups and randomly received three diets (four weeks each) in which the protein source (25%E) was mainly red meat (beef, pork) (12%E), white meat (chicken, turkey) (12%E), and nonmeat sources (nuts, beans, soy) (16%E). Taxonomic characterization using 16S ribosomal DNA was performed on fecal samples collected at each diet completion. Interindividual differences in age, body fat (%), height, ethnicity, sex, and alpha diversity (Shannon) were all significant factors, and most samples clustered by participant in the PCoA ordination. The dietary interventions did not significantly alter the overall microbiome community in ordination space, but there was an effect on taxon abundance levels. Saturated fat had a greater effect than protein source on taxon differential abundance, but protein source had a significant effect once the fat influence was removed. Higher alpha diversity predicted lower beta diversity between the experimental and baseline diets, indicating greater resistance to change in people with higher microbiome diversity. Our results suggest that interindividual differences outweighed the influence of these specific dietary changes on the microbiome and that moderate changes in saturated fat level and protein source correspond to modest changes in the microbiome.

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Originally published in mBio, 9(6) [Article e01604]. The original material can be found here.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.