New research proves that the health problems related to eating junk food are about more than just consuming too many calories of fat and sugar. Even if you try to make cheat meals of McDonald’s hamburgers to fit your macros, the processed food actually kills bacteria needed to fight off diseases and prevent obesity. “THE DIET MYTH -The Real Science Behind What We Eat” by genetics professor Tim Spector, gives evidence as to why people should ditch the diet if they really want to reach a healthy, sustainable weight. 

Speaking about what to expect from his book, the professor told people to stop fad dieting in order to lose weight as science suggests there is much more to weight management than controlling calories consumed. He states the importance of having a varied diet in helping to protect our bodies against heart disease, cancer and obesity. If you have ever wondered why some people can eat all the chips or peanut butter they want without gaining weight, he seems to have found an answer. The simple idea that weight gain is only caused by eating more calories than your body burns, may not be the full picture. This also supports the idea seen on many fitness memes suggesting that “you can’t out-run a bad diet”. But this might explain why.

The ten day burgers, fries and soda diet

One case study highlighted within the book included the researcher’s 23 year old son as the guinea pig. He was instructed to eat only McDonald’s food for ten days straight to investigate the impact of junk food on the stomach. The experiment tested the bacteria in his gut before and after he lived on a diet of hamburgers, fries, chicken nuggets and Coca Cola for ten days. At the start of the experiment, tests showed that he had a normal 3500 different species of bacteria in his gut, at the end, 2200 different bacteria.

The types of bacteria found before and after suggests that junk food actually kills the ‘good gut bacteria’ (scientifically known to play a part in preventing disease) and increases ‘bad gut bacteria’ (which has been found in overweight people).


The researcher’s McDonald’s experiment wasn’t purely to sicken his son of hamburgers, fries and cola but was to consider a lack of diversity in the diet. Nowadays people eat around 2o different food types but around 100 years ago our ancestors ate at least 125 every week. One important factor in health problems he suggests, is the lack of different bacteria in our guts which are an effect of not having a varied diet. The bacteria found in our stomach are essential to all of the chemical reactions which allow us to digest food properly. There needs to be as much of the different disease fighting bacteria in there to keep the immune system working, provide vital vitamins which have an impact on the calories our body actually absorbs. Myth busted!

The ingredients to the healthy body recipe

In order to overcome the problems that our modern day diet inflicts on our bodies, the author emphasizes the importance on the fact that everyone’s body works differently. Yes, what we have been saying all along 😉 But really, the science proves that the bacteria inside everyone’s gut are different. There isn’t an ultimate clean diet that everyone should be striving to live by and one diet will never fit all. Eating a range of foods which provide the essential bacteria that the body is known to need can help encourage good bacteria that will help the immune system stay strong. Yoghurt and cheese contain ‘good bacteria’, as well as garlic, nuts and dark chocolate.

If this research really teaches us anything, it is that non-processed food and as many different types of it are the ingredients to a healthy gut and body. Ditch the diet or detox to give yourself the best chances of living healthily long term by consciously eating a variety of good food, and your body can take of the rest. 

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