No Mention of Fermented Foods in Article about Importance of Bacteria

A new article in the New York Times by Carl Zimmer is about the importance of the bacteria inside of us. Several studies are described. Then it comes to the practical use of the knowledge. Here’s what we can do to improve our inner bacterial ecology:

To ward off dangerous skin pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus, for instance, Dr. Segre envisions applying a cream infused with nutrients [Treatment 1] for harmless skin bacteria to feed on. . . . Adding the bacteria directly may also help. Unfortunately, the science of so-called probiotics [Treatment 2] lags far behind their growth in sales. In 2011, people bought $28 billion of probiotic foods and supplements. . . A growing number of doctors are treating C. difficile with fecal transplants [Treatment 3]: Stool from a healthy donor is delivered like a suppository to an infected patient. The idea is that the good bacteria in the stool establish themselves in the gut and begin to compete with C. difficile. This year, researchers at the University of Alberta reviewed 124 fecal transplants and concluded that the procedure is safe and effective.

No mention of fermented foods. The obvious difference between fermented foods and Treatments 1-3, besides pleasure (fermented foods more pleasurable), is that Treatments 1-3 can be sold for high prices. Fermented foods cannot. (Except wine.)  The omission is curious. Just because the people that Zimmer interviews have tunnel vision doesn’t mean that Zimmer must.



4 Replies to “No Mention of Fermented Foods in Article about Importance of Bacteria”

  1. In the days when we made our own wine we found that the yeast was so mobile that it could even start a fermentation in a jar of pickled gherkins in the fridge. In the era when people made their own bread and beer, yeast must have got everywhere.

  2. dearime, that may be true of wine yeast, but I am skeptical. I am a homebrewer (beer), and I also make bread from time to time, and I have never noticed anything like this.

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