“We are what we eat”: How diet impacts the gut microbiota in adulthood

Taojun Wang, Dominique I.M. Roest, Hauke Smidt, Erwin G. Zoetendal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The important role of the microbes residing in our gut, collectively called the microbiota, in human health is widely acknowledged. There are numerous factors that have an impact on the microbiota in the gut of which diet is considered a crucial one. In this chapter we highlight our current knowledge on the ecology of the microbiota in adults and how it is affected by diet. We summarize observations from different cross-sectional and intervention studies that focused on the impact of diet on microbiota composition and activity. Special attention is paid to which microbial metabolites can be produced in the gut; how these are affected by different dietary components such as carbohydrates, fat, and proteins; and how these are associated to human health. Finally, we provide recommendations for future intervention studies in order to improve our understanding of the complex interplay between microbes, diet, and ourselves.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHow Fermented Foods Feed a Healthy Gut Microbiota
Subtitle of host publicationA Nutrition Continuum
EditorsM.A. Azcarate-Peril, R.R. Arnold, J.M. Bruno-Bárcena
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9783030287375
ISBN (Print)9783030287368
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2019


  • Adult microbiome
  • Intestinal microbial metabolites
  • Microbial stability
  • Resilience of the gut microbiome
  • Traditional diet
  • Western diet


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