As you may already know, I was an overweight child who ate way too much sugar and all the wrong types of fats.
Even though I eventually learned to eat healthier and maintain a steady weight through diet and exercise, achieving those markers of “good health” was harder than it needed to be.
That’s why I always stress the importance of nutrition… starting in early childhood.
But now, a recent mouse study suggests that childhood eating habits alter your gastrointestinal (GI) microbiome for life—even if you eat healthier later on.
And let me just say, if these results carry over to humans, it means poor nutrition in childhood could wreak havoc on your health in adulthood…
A lasting impact
First and foremost, the microbiome consists of bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses that live on and in a human or animal.
When you’re healthy, the good bacteria balance out the bad. They help to mobilize your immune system, in addition to breaking down food and synthesizing critical nutrients. But when this balance is disrupted—whether it’s with antibiotics or through an unhealthy diet—there’s a price to pay, in the form of any number of chronic diseases.
In this new study, researchers at the University of California, Riverside discovered a dramatic drop in both the number and diversity of gut bacteria among adult mice who ate an unhealthy diet as “children”.
When projecting these results onto actual human subjects, it would be the equivalent of human kids that grew up on a Standard American Diet (SAD) suffering from changes to their microbiome as long as six years after puberty.
But that’s not all…
The quantity of Muribaculum intestinale, in particular—a strain of bacteria linked to carbohydrate metabolism—was much lower in the mice raised on a SAD, whether or not they exercised. On the contrary, when mice ate their usual (healthy) diet AND had access to a running wheel, the population of Muribaculum increased. (Carbohydrate metabolism is crucial to good health, as it supplies your cells with energy from food.)
This just brings us back to two things I always recommend for good health: eating a healthy, balanced diet—and engaging in consistent exercise.
Childhood nutrition matters
At the end of the day, the researchers found that diet in early life was the most influential and enduring factor on the microbiome.
In other words, how you feed your kids (and grandkids) absolutely has a lifelong impact on their health—as I wrote about in my very first book, Feed Your Kids Well.
So, if you have any children in your life, I highly recommend taking this study seriously—and making appropriate, lasting changes. (After all, this isn’t the first time poor nutrition in childhood has been linked to long-term harm.)
But even if, like me, you were the one with the checkered nutritional past, take some heart in the fact that there are proactive steps that you can take to rehabilitate your own microbiome, starting TODAY.
In fact, I gave readers a comprehensive plan to do exactly that back in the March and April 2019 issues of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives.
Subscribers have access to both of these life-altering issues—and more—in my archives. So if you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for? Click here to sign up today.
“Childhood diet has lifelong impact: Effects of unhealthy food followed young mice into adulthood.” Science Daily, 02/03/2021. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/02/210203090458.htm)