The Economist delves deeper than simply 'diet' here, looking and the issue of gut flora:
- "Rates of inflammatory disease have been rising for decades among adults and children alike. Puzzlingly, this increase has occurred largely in developed countries, bypassing poorer places. (Rural poverty brings many hardships; inflammatory bowel disease is not among them.) This has left scientists struggling to pinpoint exactly what about the rich world is making people sick. New data from Paolo Lionetti, of the University of Florence in Italy, supports the view that diet may be the culprit."
- "[researchers] speculate that reduced intestinal diversity could permit unwelcome bugs to gain a foothold...[and certain] bacterial profiles [can] indicate a greater risk of obesity."
- " In contrast, African children had lots of bacterial species associated with leanness, and a higher proportion of microbes known to produce beneficial chemicals called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Such compounds have been associated with lower levels of allergies and inflammation"
UPDATE: Check out the use of sand, feathers and coal tar in your diet!