The effects on the intestinal microbiota of a short period of marginal over-eating, characteristic of holiday or\ud festival periods, were investigated in a pilot study. Fourteen healthy male subjects consumed a diet rich in\ud animal protein and fat for seven days. During this period, the subjects significantly increased their dietary\ud energy, protein, carbohydrate and fat intakes by 56, 59, 53 and 58%, respectively (all P < 0.05). The mean\ud weight gain of 0.27 kg was less than the expected 1 kg, but this was consistent with a degree of under-reporting\ud on the baseline diet. Fluorescence in situ hybridisation analysis confirmed the relative stability of each\ud individual’s faecal microbiota but showed considerable variations between them. The diet was associated with\ud a significant increase in numbers of total faecal bacteria and the bacteroides group, as detected by the universal\ud bacterial probe (DAPI) and Bacteroides probe (Bac 303), respectively. Overall, there was a decrease in\ud numbers of the Lactobacillus/Enterococcus group (Lab 158 probe; 2.8 ± 3.0% to 1.8 ± 1.8%) and the Bifidobacterium\ud group (Bif 164 probe; 3.0 ± 3.7% to 1.7 ± 1.2%), although there was considerable inter-individual\ud variation. Analysis of the relative proportions of each bacterial group as a percentage of the subject’s total\ud bacteria showed a trend for a change in the intestinal microbiota that might be considered potentially\ud unhealthy
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