Short Communication| Volume 33, ISSUE 1, P84-89, January 2023

Download started.


Differences in the gut microbiota of women according to ultra-processed food consumption

Published:October 10, 2022DOI:


      • This work represents the first study to correlate gut microbiota species with diet quality markers, using NOVA classification.
      • We found a different bacterial composition according to the preferential food group consumed: ultra-processed or unprocessed.
      • Higher ultra-processed food consumption was directly related to leptin resistance in woman.


      Background and aims

      High consumption of ultra-processed food (UPF) has been associated with increased risk of obesity and other metabolic diseases, and this dietary pattern seems to be responsible for chronic changes in the gut microbiota. The aim of this study was to assess the associations of UPF with the gut microbiota and obesity-associated biometrics in women.

      Methods and results

      This cross-sectional study examined 59 women. The following parameters were evaluated: food consumption using NOVA classification, anthropometric and metabolic parameters, and gut microbiome by next-generation sequencing. The mean age was 28.0 ± 6.6 years. The mean caloric intake was 1624 ± 531 kcal, of which unprocessed or minimally processed food (G1) accounted for 52.4 ± 13.5%, and UPF accounted for 31.4 ± 13.6%. Leptin levels adjusted for fat mass were negatively associated with G1 and positively associated with UPF. We found 15 species in the gut microbiota that correlated with G1 (3 positively and 12 negatively) and 9 species associated with UPF (5 positively and 4 negatively).


      Higher consumption of UPF was directly associated with leptin resistance, and this study suggests that the consumption of UPF or G1 may affect the composition of the gut microbiota.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Juul F.
        • Martinez-Steele E.
        • Parekh N.
        • Monteiro C.A.
        • Chang V.W.
        Ultra-processed food consumption and excess weight among US adults.
        Br J Nutr. 2018; 120: 90-100
        • Pagliai G.
        • Dinu M.
        • Madarena M.P.
        • Bonaccio M.
        • Iacoviello L.
        • Sofi F.
        Consumption of ultra-processed foods and health status: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
        Br J Nutr. 2021 14; 125: 308-318
        • Redondo-Useros N.
        • Nova E.
        • González-Zancada N.
        • Díaz L.E.
        • Gómez-Martínez S.
        • Marcos A.
        Microbiota and lifestyle: a special focus on diet.
        Nutrients. 2020; 12: 1-54
        • Zinöcker M.K.
        • Lindseth I.A.
        The western diet–microbiome-host interaction and its role in metabolic disease.
        Nutrients. 2018; 10
        • Bailly M.
        • Germain N.
        • Galusca B.
        • Courteix D.
        • Thivel D.
        • Verney J.
        Definition and diagnosis of constitutional thinness: a systematic review.
        Br J Nutr. 2020; 124: 531-547
        • Monteiro C.A.
        • Cannon G.
        • Moubarac J.C.
        • Levy R.B.
        • Louzada M.L.C.
        • Jaime P.C.
        The UN Decade of Nutrition, the NOVA food classification and the trouble with ultra-processing.
        Publ Health Nutr. 2018; 21: 5-17
        • Myers Jr., M.G.
        • Leibel R.L.
        • Seeley R.J.
        • Schwartz M.W.
        Obesity and leptin resistance: distinguishing cause from effect.
        Trends Endocrinol Metabol. 2010; 21: 643-651
        • Romaní-Pérez M.
        • Bullich-Vilarrubias C.
        • López-Almela I.
        • Liébana-García R.
        • Olivares M.
        • Sanz Y.
        The microbiota and the gut-brain Axis in controlling food intake and energy homeostasis.
        Int J Mol Sci. 2021; 22: 5830
        • Sen T.
        • Cawthon C.R.
        • Ihde B.T.
        • Hajnal A.
        • DiLorenzo P.M.
        • de La Serre C.B.
        • Czaja K.
        Diet-driven microbiota dysbiosis is associated with vagal remodeling and obesity.
        Physiol Behav. 2017; 173: 305-317
        • Hall K.D.
        • Ayuketah A.
        • Brychta R.
        • et al.
        Ultra-processed diets cause excess calorie intake and weight gain: an inpatient randomized controlled trial of ad libitum food intake.
        Cell Metabol. 2019; 30: 67-77
        • Jamar G.
        • Ribeiro D.A.
        • Pisani L.P.
        High-fat or high-sugar diets as trigger inflammation in the microbiota-gut-brain axis.
        Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2021; 61: 836-854
        • Ferreira L.F.
        • Garcia Neto P.G.
        • Titon S.C.M.
        • Titon Jr., B.
        • Muxel S.M.
        • Gomes F.R.
        • Assis V.R.
        Lipopolysaccharide regulates pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, corticosterone, and melatonin in toads.
        Integr Org Biol. 2021; 3: obab025
        • Chassaing B.
        • van de Wiele T.
        • de Bodt J.
        • Marzorati M.
        • Gewirtz A.T.
        Dietary emulsifiers directly alter human microbiota composition and gene expression ex vivo potentiating intestinal inflammation.
        Gut. 2017; 66: 1414-1427
        • Suez J.
        • Korem T.
        • Zeevi D.
        • Zilberman-Schapira G.
        • Thaiss C.A.
        • Maza O.
        • et al.
        Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota.
        Nature. 2014; 514: 181-186
        • Coppola S.
        • Avagliano C.
        • Calignano A.
        • Berni Canani R.
        The protective role of butyrate against obesity and obesity-related diseases.
        Molecules. 2021; 26: 682
        • Parker B.J.
        • Wearsch P.A.
        • Veloo A.C.M.
        • Rodriguez-Palacios A.
        The genus Alistipes: gut bacteria with emerging implications to inflammation, cancer, and mental health.
        Front Immunol. 2020; 11: 906
        • López-Contreras B.E.
        • Morán-Ramos S.
        • Villarruel-Vázquez R.
        • Macías-Kauffer L.
        • Villamil-Ramírez H.
        • León-Mimila P.
        • Vega-Badillo J.
        • Sánchez-Muñoz F.
        • Llanos-Moreno L.E.
        • Canizalez-Román A.
        • Del Río-Navarro B.
        • Ibarra-González I.
        • Vela-Amieva M.
        • Villarreal-Molina T.
        • Ochoa-Leyva A.
        • Aguilar-Salinas C.A.
        • Canizales-Quinteros S.
        Composition of gut microbiota in obese and normal-weight Mexican school-age children and its association with metabolic traits.
        Pediatr Obes. 2018 Jun; 13: 381-388
        • David L.A.
        • Maurice C.F.
        • Carmody R.N.
        • Gootenberg D.B.
        • Button J.E.
        • Wolfe B.E.
        • Ling A.V.
        • Devlin A.S.
        • Varma Y.
        • Fischbach M.A.
        • Biddinger S.B.
        • Dutton R.J.
        • Turnbaugh P.J.
        Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome.
        Nature. 2014; 505: 559-563
        • Stoeva M.K.
        • Garcia-So J.
        • Justice N.
        • Myers J.
        • Tyagi S.
        • Nemchek M.
        • McMurdie P.J.
        • Kolterman O.
        • Eid J.
        Butyrate-producing human gut symbiont, Clostridium butyricum, and its role in health and disease.
        Gut Microb. 2021; 13: 1-28
        • Shanahan F.
        • Ghosh T.S.
        • O'Toole P.W.
        The healthy microbiome-what is the definition of a healthy gut microbiome?.
        Gastroenterology. 2021; 160: 483-494