SYDNEY, March 28 (Xinhua) -- A diet that boosts good bacteria in the stomach could be key to reducing the risk of diabetes, an Australian study has found.
Researchers from Melbourne's Monash University found for the first time that a diet rich in fermentable fibre stopped mice from developing type 1 diabetes.
The fibre was administered to the mice in the form of a powder sprinkled on their regular food and plans for a human trial were underway.
The diet's combination of starches is broken down by stomach bacteria to produce acetate and butyrate, short-chain fatty acids that are a key part of keeping the immune system healthy.
"We think that metabolites have anti-inflammatory effects and they do remarkable things in every single major disease we look at: cardiovascular ¬disease, food allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, and asthma," lead researcher Charles Mackay told News Limited on Tuesday.
Mackay tested the diet, which was created by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), on mice which had already developed diabetes.
"And we still managed to protect the mice from developing full-blown diabetes," he said.
"It would be awesome if (it) holds true for humans."
He said that consuming a healthy diet alone would not provide the same amount of fibre as the powder used in the study.
"It can't be replicated just by eating high amounts of fruit and vegetables," Mackay said.
"It's a supplement you could sprinkle on your food that would give you an enormous hit of acetate or butyrate, or both. It could be a tremendous way to get our gut back to good health and prevent these inflammatory diseases."
Approximately 1.2 million Australians suffer from diabetes, making it one of the nation's most significant health issues.