A "high-fat" Western diet weakens the ability of the immune system to fight infectious diseases particularly in the gut, leaving people most at risk of food poisoning, according to researchers at the University College Cork ( UCC).
This type of diet leaves people more prone to disease than listeria, a type of insect that can cause food poisoning when eaten.
It can live and grow in a wide range of foods, in particular refrigerated ready meals such as packaged rolls, butter, cold cuts, smoked salmon, some soft cheeses and patés.
Scientists from APC Microbiome Ireland based at UCC have discovered that feeding mice with a "westernized" diet, high in fat and with low fermentable fiber, has affected both the immune system and the bacteria living in the area. intestine.
Even the short-term consumption of the high fat diet has been shown to increase the number of goblet cells in the intestine, which are the target for listeria infection, as well as causing profound changes in the composition of the microbiota and the immune system.
The high fat diet has also increased susceptibility to infections over the intestine.
The researchers said that the increase in human consumption of a "westernized" diet has been linked to the dramatic increase in conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Research has shown the direct effects of dietary fat on both the immune system and the intestinal microbiota.
Listeria can cause serious illness, particularly in pregnant women, the elderly and people whose immune system is weakened.
"The short-term consumption of the high-fat diet has increased levels of blocked bacteria in the intestine that are associated with obesity," said Dr. Vanessa Las Heras.
The effects of the diet were also seen beyond the intestine, he stressed.
"This has important implications for human health, especially during pregnancy, in old age and in immunocompromised individuals," said Dr. Cormac Gahan, leader of the research study.
"It also has more general implications for research into infectious diseases".