Japan is known for its longevity worldwide; the Japanese diet is thought to contribute to this longevity. However, the Japanese diet has become westernized over the past years, with a parallel increase in the incidence of lifestyle diseases. Thus, whether the modern Japanese diet is still healthy requires investigation. A diet with characteristics of the 1975 Japanese diet (JD) was previously shown to have beneficial effects on mice and humans. In this study, we examined whether intestinal bacteria are involved in the health benefits of this diet by analyzing changes in the composition of the fecal microbiota between humans who ingested the JD and those consuming a modern Japanese diet (MD). We also examined correlations between intestinal bacteria and biological parameters. A randomized controlled trial was performed to determine the effects of the 1975 JD compared to those of the MD. Subjects aged 20–29 years were randomly assigned to the JD (n=11) and MD (n=10) groups. Each subject consumed their respective diet three times per day for 28 days, and changes in intestinal bacteria before to after this period were evaluated. Four genera (unclassified Lachnospiraceae, Parabacteroides, Sutterella and unclassified Rikenellaceae) were significantly changed upon intake of the JD. Based on correlation analysis, relationships were found between changes in these genera and decreases in fat%; fat mass; and levels of blood glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase, blood triacylglycerols and hemoglobin A1c. These results suggest that changes in intestinal bacteria are involved in the health benefits of the JD.
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