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Back to Symposium 2012

Lactose and Gluten: Impact on Gut Microbiota and Health

Wendy J. Dahl Wendy J. Dahl, PhD, RD, FDC

University of Florida

The composition of human gastrointestinal microbiota—100 trillion or so bacteria that inhabit our gut—is known to have an impact on health and wellness, as well as the risk of disease. In addition to being disturbed by stress, antibiotics, aging and food-borne pathogens, certain changes in our diet may also alter the composition. Consuming prebiotics, such as chicory root fibre and galactooligosaccharides (GOS), is widely known to stimulate the growth or activity of what are considered to be beneficial bacteria. However, dietary modulation of the microbiota goes far beyond the intake of prebiotic fibres. Dietary changes that enhance or limit the intake of dietary and functional fibre, resistant starch, and protein also modify the composition of microbiota, as does our intake of indigestible sugars.

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