Gut germs that love diet soda

The modern sugary, greasy diet diverges so much from the diet humans evolved eating, that the microbes of Westernised populations may no longer mesh well with the human body.
The modern sugary, greasy diet diverges so much from the diet humans evolved eating, that the microbes of Westernised populations may no longer mesh well with the human body.PHOTO: ST FILE

There are many reasons to avoid processed foods. They're often packed with sugar, fat and salt, and they tend to lack certain nutrients critical to health, like fibre.

And now, new research suggests that some of the additives that extend the shelf life and improve the texture of these foods may have unintended side effects - not on our bodies directly, but on the human microbiome, the trillions of bacteria living in our gut.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 17, 2018, with the headline 'Gut germs that love diet soda'. Print Edition | Subscribe