Scientists compared youngsters from a rural African village with another group living in Italy and found a dramatic difference. The African children had less obesity-linked bacteria, and more fatty acids which protect against inflammation.
The diet of the African children was similar to that of people living in the modern Western world thousands of years ago. Of the Italian children, only those who were still breast-feeding harbored bacteria resembling the African children's.
The trillions of microbes that inhabit your gut help you to digest food, protect against disease-causing bugs and limit inflammation.
The Telegraph reports:
"Pediatrician Dr Paolo Lionetti … and colleagues said children in industrialized countries who eat … 'Western' diets may reduce microbial richness — potentially contributing to a rise in allergic and inflammatory diseases in the last half-century."