Analysis: Our food may actually be too clean

An analysis in the New York Times investigates whether our food may actually be “too clean” by harming the microbiome within our bodies, leading to problems with our immune system and hormones. With fewer “good” bacteria in our systems, we may be making it easier for “bad” bacteria to spread, as well as encouraging our immune system to attack “good” bacteria.

While the author conceded that “all of this is hard to prove,” she noted that recent animal studies “lend some credence to the theory.”

“No one is saying you need to eat a peck of dirt before you die to be healthy,” said Jeffrey T. LeJeune, a professor and head of the food animal research program at Ohio State University in Wooster, Ohio. “But there is a line somewhere when it comes to cleanliness. We just don’t know where it is.”

The theory that there might be such a thing as “too clean” food stems from the hygiene hypothesis, which has been gaining traction over the last decade. It holds that our modern germaphobic ways may be making us sick by harming our microbiome, which comprises all the microscopic beasties — bacteria, viruses, fungi, mites, etc. — that live in and on our bodies.

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2015. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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