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December 13, 1919


JAMA. 1919;73(24):1844. doi:10.1001/jama.1919.02610500034014

There are many indications in the recent literature of alimentary bacteriology leading to the conclusion that diet can play a significant rôle in determining the bacterial flora of the intestine. The attempts to establish specific types of micro-organisms in the enteric tract by feeding bacterial cultures have not proved successful in the way that the enthusiasts of the Metchnikoff school were led to expect. Despite the positive claims of the manufacturers of such products, the preponderant view at present is against the probability of success in the efforts to implant strains of bacteria in the intestine by feeding cultures of them. On the other hand, there is growing evidence that the flora in the bowel can be profoundly altered by changes in diet.

Torrey has demonstrated the striking effect of various high-calory diets on the fecal flora of typhoid patients. In some cases the addition of from 250 to 300