Scientists learned how a two-week tomato diet may affect the body

Yulia PoteriankoLife
The results of research on piglets are encouraging

In general, doctors warn that mono diets are not very healthy as they make the diet poor in nutrients. However, diets with a constant presence of one particular food among others can be very beneficial.

This conclusion was reached by American scientists who studied the effect of a tomato diet on pigs, Technology Networks reports. They fed young piglets for two weeks so that tomatoes were constantly present in their diet, and recorded an increase in the diversity of their intestinal bacteria and a change in the microbiome in a more favorable direction. They published the results of their work in the journal Microbiology Spectrum.

According to Jessica Cooperstone, associate professor of horticulture and plant science, food science and technology at The Ohio State University and senior author of the study, this may indicate that tomato consumption may have significant benefits by regulating the gut microbiome not only for animals but also for humans.

For the study, the researchers used tomatoes that were bred by the co-author of the work, plant geneticist and breeder David Francis. Typically, this type of fruit is used in canned tomato products.

The study involved 20 piglets that had just been weaned. Half of them (the control group) received a standard diet, and half of them received a diet adapted so that 10% of the feed consisted of a lyophilized powder made from tomatoes. Both groups consumed the same amount of fiber, sugars, proteins, fats, and calories. The pigs from different groups were kept separately, and the researchers tried to spend as little time with them as possible so as not to affect their microbiome.

The scientists learned what kind of bacteria inhabited the intestines of the animals from fecal samples taken before the study, and then 7 and 14 days after the introduction of the diet. They sequenced all the microbial DNA from these samples. It turned out that those piglets that constantly consumed tomatoes had an increased diversity of intestinal bacteria, and the concentration of two types of bacteria common in the mammalian microbiome shifted towards a more favorable profile. In particular, the number of Bacillota (formerly known as Firmicutes) decreased compared to Bacteroidota (formerly known as Bacteriodetes). Earlier, studies have shown that the reverse numerical advantage of Bacillota over Bacteroidota can lead to obesity.

Previous studies have already shown that the presence of tomatoes in the diet reduces the risk of developing various adverse health conditions, including cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. However, the effect of these vegetables on the gut microbiome has not yet been studied. According to Cooperstone, the results they have achieved encourage them to study the effect of tomatoes on the intestinal flora of humans because the structure of the intestines is quite similar to that of pigs.

"To really understand the mechanisms, we need to do more of this kind of work in humans in the long term. We also want to understand the complex interactions: how does consuming these foods change the composition of the microbes present and what does that do from a functional point of view? A better understanding can lead to more scientifically sound dietary recommendations for long-term health," the scientist said.

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