Cooking shapes the structure and function of the gut microbiome

Rachel N. Carmody, Jordan E. Bisanz, Benjamin P. Bowen, Corinne F. Maurice, Svetlana Lyalina, Katherine B. Louie, Daniel Treen, Katia S. Chadaideh, Vayu Maini Rekdal, Elizabeth N. Bess, Peter Spanogiannopoulos, Qi Yan Ang, Kylynda C. Bauer, Thomas W. Balon, Katherine S. Pollard, Trent R. Northen, Peter J. Turnbaugh

    Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

    69 Scopus citations


    Diet is a critical determinant of variation in gut microbial structure and function, outweighing even host genetics1–3. Numerous microbiome studies have compared diets with divergent ingredients1–5, but the everyday practice of cooking remains understudied. Here, we show that a plant diet served raw versus cooked reshapes the murine gut microbiome, with effects attributable to improvements in starch digestibility and degradation of plant-derived compounds. Shifts in the gut microbiota modulated host energy status, applied across multiple starch-rich plants, and were detectable in humans. Thus, diet-driven host–microbial interactions depend on the food as well as its form. Because cooking is human-specific, ubiquitous and ancient6,7, our results prompt the hypothesis that humans and our microbiomes co-evolved under unique cooking-related pressures.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)2052-2063
    Number of pages12
    JournalNature Microbiology
    Issue number12
    StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Microbiology
    • Immunology
    • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
    • Genetics
    • Microbiology (medical)
    • Cell Biology


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