The associations between nutrient intake and eating patterns with adiposity, metabolic risk factors, and the gut microbiome in Hispanic college freshmen




Pilles, Kiona Natasha

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Hispanics are at an increased risk of obesity and metabolic disease in the United States. Some studies have shown 70% of college students gain weight during their freshman year and is a critical transition period contributing to the rise in obesity rates. Research indicates that obesity is associated with an altered gut microbiome, a dynamic community of microbes that encode for proteins that perform diverse metabolic roles, are associated with disease states and may be affected by dietary intake. The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between the gut microbiome and dietary intake, eating patterns, adiposity, and metabolic measures in a population of college Hispanic freshmen. This cross-sectional study and secondary analysis was performed at The University of Texas at Austin and involved Hispanic college freshmen (18-19 years of age). The first aim was to examine the relationship between dietary intake, adiposity, and metabolic markers. Fiber intake was negatively associated with hepatic fat (HF), glucose, insulin, and leptin. Saturated fat intake was positively associated with HF, subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), total body fat, cholesterol, insulin, insulin resistance, leptin, and C-reactive protein (CRP). Saturated fat intake was also associated with increased odds of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The second aim was to examine the relationship between the gut microbiome and the diet. Subjects who met saturated fat recommendations compared to those who exceeded recommendations had a more diverse microbiome. The third aim was to evaluate the relationship between the gut microbiome, adiposity, and metabolic measures. Subjects who had a low percent body fat, low insulin values, and high LDL values had a more diverse microbiome compared to subjects with a high percent body fat, high insulin values, and low LDL values. Collectively, these data suggest that an intake of saturated fat is associated with unfavorable health outcomes and the microbiome may be a possible mechanism and/or target for treatment and prevention.


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