Put Down that Big Mac. You Need a Big MAC.
Your grandkids will thank you.
When you bite into a Big Mac, you’re getting a lot. Those famed two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and sesame seed buns pack a whopping 540 calories, mostly made up of fat, protein and carbohydrates.
What you’re not getting is a lot of is dietary fiber.
And while fast food items like the Big Mac won’t necessarily kill you when eaten every now and then, a steady diet of the nearly fiber-free stuff can have implications that span generations. But it’s not just fast food. Western diets in general are high in fat and simple carbohydrates and low in Microbiota-Accessible Carbohydrates (MACs) found in dietary fiber.
We all know the benefits of our good friend fiber. In addition to maintaining digestive health, it lowers cholesterol and helps control blood sugar levels. But did you know that fiber also acts as an intestinal environmental crusader that saves microbiota living in our gut from going the way of the Dodo Bird?
And did you know that that extinction can get passed down to your children and their children?
According to a 2015 study on diet-induced extinctions in gut microbiota, Microbiota-accessible carbohydrates (MACs) found in dietary fiber have a crucial involvement in shaping a microbial ecosystem. The study noted that microbiota in laboratory mice consuming a low MAC-diet over generations resulted in a progressive loss of microbiota diversity that was not recoverable when dietary MACs were reintroduced.
“While we pass on relatively few changes in our human DNA for each generation, this study indicates that we are potentially passing on huge changes in our gut microbiome,” wrote microbiologist Erica Sonnenburg in her study.
On the bright side, bacteria variety could be re-achieved in the mice – but that required a fecal transplant. Think of that the next time you debate having a Big Mac instead of a salad.