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Beyond the call: Scientist self-administers fecal transplant in search for healthy...


But that's what the Human Food Project's Jeff Leach did during a research project in Tanzania. His attention grabbing first-person narrative bookends what is actually a fascinating discussion on the changing nature of gut bacteria in many Western societies.

Is the highly processed diets many in the West now eat adversely affecting the varied internal ecosystem? Might it be antibiotics? Are increased allergies the results of changing gut bacteria? Is there a connection to weight? Mr Leach writes that "scientists know very little about the connection between disease and the potential microbial culprits (these are early days). Science is hard and the human gut is a vast and diverse ecosystem."

The Human Food Project studies modern human diseases by studying the microbes that live in us now and those which may have decades or centuries ago. Leach, with a number of colleagues, spent more than a year studying the last hunter forager group in Tanzania – the Hadza – who still eat a diet a man from several thousand years ago might recognize. Their diet is very high in fiber and meat is eaten in only one of the two seasons, but is diverse and usually binged on when more available in the dry season (zebra, dik dik and monkey are a few of the seasonal menu options).

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