lunes, 30 de junio de 2014

Nutrition Journal | Full text | Fast food fever: reviewing the impacts of the Western diet on immunity

Nutrition Journal | Full text | Fast food fever: reviewing the impacts of the Western diet on immunity

Fast Food Fever: Reviewing the Impact of the Western Diet on Immunity
A review article appearing in Nutrition Journal analyzes the potential impact of the Western diet on the immune system. NIAID scientist Ian Myles, M.D., describes findings from animal and human studies suggesting that modern dietary choices may contribute to more inflammation, poor control of infections, and a higher risk of allergic and autoinflammatory diseases. He also explains how dietary choices can alter DNA and the composition of the microbiome—the community of “good” bacteria that naturally colonize the gut. These changes enable the potentially harmful effects of diet to be passed from parent to child.

Fast food fever: reviewing the impacts of the Western diet on immunity

Ian A Myles
Bacterial Pathogenesis Unit, Laboratory of Clinical Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, 9000 Rockville Pike Building 33, Room 2W10A, Bethesda, MD, 20892, Maryland
Nutrition Journal 2014, 13:61  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-61

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Received:10 March 2014
Accepted:23 May 2014
Published:17 June 2014
© 2014 Myles; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


While numerous changes in human lifestyle constitute modern life, our diet has been gaining attention as a potential contributor to the increase in immune-mediated diseases. The Western diet is characterized by an over consumption and reduced variety of refined sugars, salt, and saturated fat. Herein our objective is to detail the mechanisms for the Western diet’s impact on immune function. The manuscript reviews the impacts and mechanisms of harm for our over-indulgence in sugar, salt, and fat, as well as the data outlining the impacts of artificial sweeteners, gluten, and genetically modified foods; attention is given to revealing where the literature on the immune impacts of macronutrients is limited to either animal or in vitro models versus where human trials exist. Detailed attention is given to the dietary impact on the gut microbiome and the mechanisms by which our poor dietary choices are encoded into our gut, our genes, and are passed to our offspring. While today’s modern diet may provide beneficial protection from micro- and macronutrient deficiencies, our over abundance of calories and the macronutrients that compose our diet may all lead to increased inflammation, reduced control of infection, increased rates of cancer, and increased risk for allergic and auto-inflammatory disease.

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