Why Are City Dwellers Gradually Losing Their Ability To Digest Plants?

A major cause of concern is human beings' growing inability to digest tough plant materials.

by Sanjana Shenoy
Why Are City Dwellers Gradually Losing Their Ability To Digest Plants?

Fibre is one of the most integral parts of one’s diet. And unfortunately one of the most ignored. The consequence of adopting a Westernised diet is dire with serious repercussions. A new study stated that city dwellers are gradually losing their ability to digest plants. Read on to learn what is the reason behind this.

City Dwellers Are Losing Ability To Digest Plants Due To Westernised Diets

losing ability digest plants
Picture Credits: Canva Pro

A recent study titled “Cryptic diversity of cellulose-degrading gut bacteria in industrialized humans” threw light on the harm caused by a Westernised diet. According to the study, Westernised diets have low fibre content which poses major challenges to the gut microbe’s ability to digest plant material effectively. While fruits and vegetables are fundamental components of a human’s diet, so are tough plant materials.

The intricate processes by which our bodies break down cellulose are being closely studied by scientists. A team of international scientists recently discovered that unknown gut microbes instrumental in breaking down cellulose are present in humans. Earlier, it was believed unlike cows and sheep, humans are unable to digest cellulose. However, after examining faecal samples from humans across various geographic regions and historical periods, scientists have made groundbreaking discoveries.

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Need To Increase Fibre-Rich Food In One’s Diet

losing ability digest plants
Picture Credits: Canva Pro

Certain fibre-digesting microbes were prevalent in both animals and humans. The cellulose-degrading microbes were present in mammals. However, there has been an alarming trend which emerged from the recent city. It revealed that modernised societies witnessed a sharp decline in cellulose-metabolising microbes in comparison to traditional and ancient populations.

This decline can be attributed to the widespread consumption of processed food low in fibre content. Such dietary shifts have major implications on one’s gut health and overall metabolic functions. Fibre deficiency can cause serious issues like low stomach immunity, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. Modern diets may disrupt the delicate balance of gut microbes in one’s body.

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So, there is a need to replenish these cellulose-metabolising microbes in one’s gut by avoiding processed food and increasing the consumption of fibre-rich food.

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