Human gut microbiota composition and its predicted functional properties in people with western and healthy dietary patterns

Anna M. Malinowska*, Dieuwertje E. Kok, Wilma T. Steegenga, Guido J.E.J. Hooiveld, Agata Chmurzynska

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Some dietary habits cluster together, and for this reason it is advised to study the impact of entire dietary patterns on human health, rather than that of individual dietary habits. The main objective of this study was to evaluate differences in gut microbiota composition and their predicted functional properties between people with a healthy (HDP) and western (WDP) dietary pattern. Methods: A cross-sectional, observational study was carried out on 200 participants enrolled 2017–2018 in Poznań, Poland, equally distributed into HDP and WDP groups. Diet was estimated using 3-day food records and information on stool transit times was collected. Fecal microbiota composition was assessed by 16S rRNA gene sequencing and its functional properties were predicted by the PICRUSt2 workflow. Results: The α-diversity did not differ between people with WDP and HDP, but β-diversity was associated with dietary pattern. People with HDP had higher relative abundances (RA) of Firmicutes and Faecalibacterium and lower RA of Bacteroidota and Escherichia–Shigella than participants with WDP. Only a small proportion of the variance in microbiota composition (1.8%) and its functional properties (2.9%) could be explained by dietary intake (legumes, simple sugars and their sources, like fruit, soft drinks) and stool transit characteristics. Conclusion: Gut microbiota composition and predicted metabolic potential is shaped by overall diet quality as well as the frequency of defecation; however, the cumulative effect of these explain only a relatively low proportion of variance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3887-3903
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number8
Early online date24 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Gut microbiota
  • Healthy dietary pattern
  • Stool transit time
  • Western dietary pattern


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