New snack foods nurture healthy gut microbiome

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Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified ingredients for snack food prototypes that have been formulated to deliberately change the gut microbiome in ways that can be linked to health. Translating results from animal models, the scientists have shown in two pilot human studies of overweight participants that snacks containing combinations of specifically selected fiber types affect elements of the microbiome involved in metabolizing fiber components. This shift in the microbiome was linked to changes in groups of blood proteins that are biomarkers and regulators of many facets of physiology and metabolism. These blood proteins shifted in ways that could improve health in the long term.