Dietary effects on the gut microbiome play key roles in the pathophysiology of inflammatory disorders, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and behavioral dysregulation. Often overlooked in such studies is the consideration that experimental diets vary significantly in the proportion and source of their dietary fiber. Commonly, treatment comparisons are made between animals fed a purchased refined diet that lacks soluble fiber and animals fed a standard vivarium-provided chow diet that contains a rich source of soluble fiber. Despite the well-established critical role of soluble fiber as the source of short chain fatty acid production via the gut microbiome, the extent to which measured outcomes are driven by differences in dietary fiber is unclear. Further, the interaction between sex and age in response to dietary transition is likely important and should also be considered.
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