By Jessica Hamzelou
Yes, our waste contains the stuff that our bodies are generally trying to get rid of. But it can also provide insight into our gut microbiomes and how they influence our health. And we’re getting closer to understanding the impact of individual foods.
The gut microbiome is the name we give to the community of microbes that make a home in our insides. These bugs end up in our stool, as do the many chemicals they produce.
Scientists are getting better at collecting and making sense of this data. This week, I came across a fascinating study in which researchers tried to tell whether people had eaten individual foods—avocados, walnuts, broccoli, and others—just by analyzing their poo. For some of these foods, accuracy was upwards of 80%.