Unweighted Unifrac is a theoretically better measure for dietary and cardiometabolic data
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The objective of this report was to compare unweighted and weighted Unifrac statistical methods and decide which method is best for analyzing dietary and cardiometabolic data. The Freshmen Health Study (n=77), a study on exclusively Hispanic college students collected anthropometric, dietary, cardiometabolic, and microbiome data. Weighted and unweighted Unifrac were used to analyze differences in the microbiome between groups of dietary and cardiometabolic variables. The results showed that unweighted Unifrac was the only significant measure and is statistically better for analyzing this type of data because of the sampling method of selecting only unique sequences to each community and analyzing their similarities. This is important for detecting subtle changes in different groups because diets are composed of different compositions that can influence the gut microbiome in small amounts.