OSR Journal of Student Research


BACKGROUND: The human gut is home to a microbiome that has a complex relationship to human health. Like the human genome project, microbiome is catching the attention of researchers who seek new methods to combat obesity and negative health outcomes associated with it.

OBJECTIVES: This systematic review aims to distinguish the impact of a Western diet on gut health verses a plant-based diet.

DATA SOURCES: EBSCOHost library databases inclusive of CINAHL plus, ScienceDirect, and PubMed using keywords to better understand the correlation of dietary practices and microbiome balance.

STUDY ELIGIBILITY: Criteria that include diet, current research, and scholarly peer reviewed articles.

PARTICIPANTS: Ranged from mice to children and adults.

INTERVENTIONS: Trends in intervention practices were inclusive of plant-based diets, probiotic use with complimentary prebiotic intake. Research trends away from the Western diet and leans more toward the Mediterranean diet that is high fiber to encourage a diverse microbiome.

STUDY APPRAISAL AND SYNTHESIS METHODS: Studies were selectively compared based on diet type and outcome measures.

RESULTS: The 39 articles relevant to diet intervention studies on microbiome show decreased risk for obesity when not Westernized.

LIMITATIONS: Studies are currently conducted on mice and in small populations. Most of studies were based in the U.S., so a weak international connection was noted.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Understanding disease processes associated with variations in microbiome can help researchers target interventions to maintain positive health status. Future research inclusive of diet practices will be valuable in understanding how to improve microbiome to maintain health.