New Discovery about the Diets of Great Apes Sheds Light on Ideal Human Diet

Our ancient history and the science of our evolution over millions of years is a fascinating one that increases our understanding about humans over time. These discoveries help us to better understand our connection to the natural environment. In a newly-published multi-year study researchers explored whether the bacteria that make up our gut changes over time and how it might compare to those of our ancient ancestors.

Known as a microbiome, which is the sum of all the microbial life that resides in each person or animal, it varies widely from one person to another or one animal to another. Research into the study of the bacteria with whom we share our existence is relatively new. So, it’s not surprising that almost daily scientists make new discoveries about these microscopic hitchhikers that comprise our microbiome.

Scientists examined the microbiomes of great apes since we already know that we share common DNA and are split from a common hominid ancestor. By understanding how our microbiomes may have changed over millions of years we may gain greater insights into the dietary and lifestyle needs of modern humans and whether we’re doing things that might predispose our bodies to disease.

The researchers assessed the bacterial and other microbial species found in the fecal matter of great apes. They found that the foods eaten by the animals, which incidentally appears to seasonally change, had a profound impact on their microbiomes. Published in the journal Nature Communications, the scientists learned that the high fruit diet apes eat during hot, dry summer months when these foods are available and the high foliage and bark diet they eat the rest of the year causes microbiome fluctuations. The bacteria that assist the apes in their ability to break down roughage were replaced once a year when the apes began eating more fruit.

According to lead researcher Brent L. Williams, PhD, in an interview: “The fact that our microbiomes are so different from our nearest living evolutionary relatives says something about how much we’ve changed our diets, consuming more protein and animal fat at the expense of fiber,” He added that: “Many humans may be living in a constant state of fiber deficiency. Such a state may be promoting the growth of bacteria that degrade our protective mucous layer (in the gut), which may have implications for intestinal inflammation, even colon cancer.”

Gut inflammation has been linked to a vast number of health conditions, from depression to heart attacks. Scientists once believed that the microbiomes were fairly static but the new research on the topic helps us to understand that the microbiome significantly changes based on what we eat. Perhaps other factors will also emerge over time.

Earlier Harvard University research published in the journal Nature found that diet rapidly alters the microorganisms residing in the gut, even within 24 hours. The same study found that what we eat in the short term can have drastic effects on the type and numbers of microbes in our gut and their capacity to increase inflammation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which has been found to be the source of systemic or localized inflammation elsewhere in the body.

This study found that a short-term switch to a high meat and cheese diet in humans resulted in the colonization of different microbes than those normally present when other diets were consumed. The microbes linked to the high meat and cheese diets have been linked to a capacity for increased inflammation in the GI tract.

The research is still early but these findings help us to know why there are so many health benefits for humans who eat a plant-based or largely plant-based diet—it may simply be more harmonious with our microbiomes. This type of diet is high in fiber, high in water, high in anti-inflammatory compounds and other nutrients. A high meat diet and the resulting switch to unwanted microbial hitchhikers may be at the root of many of our ills.

Related Stories:


Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News, co-founder of, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Cancer-Proof: All-Natural Solutions for Cancer Prevention and Healing.


Marie W
Marie W5 months ago

Thanks for sharing

Ruth S
Ruth S10 months ago


cara d
cara d10 months ago


Jamie C
Jamie Clemons11 months ago

Apes do eat meat when they can get it.

Lesa D
Past Member 11 months ago

thank you Michelle...

Dennis Hall
Dennis Hall11 months ago


Melanie S

Thank you for sharing.

Suzanne L
Suzanne L11 months ago

Most anthropologists/primatologists would agree that comparing the gastrointestinal systems of apes and humans is folly. Apes are well designed to wring nutrition from leaves and bark. Our smaller teeth, smaller chewing muscles and much shorter, smaller guts can't break these things down. Our hunter/gatherer ancestors and those populations who still survive this way, were bigger, better muscled and healthier than the later agricultural societies. In fact, by comparing teeth and skeletons, it has been found that .only in the last century in the richest parts of the world have the statures of agriculturalists regained the heights of ancient hunter-gatherers. If one chooses to consume a wholly or partial plant-based diet for conscientious reasons then that's one thing, but meat and cheese in and of themselves are not deleterious. It is the highly processed/refined diets with tons of salt and sugar as well as additives and preservatives that are causing digestive and other health problems.

Past Member
Past Member 11 months ago

Save Your Relationship and Get Your Ex Boyfriend/Girlfriend Back!contact: is certainly the best spell caster online and his result is 100% guarantee.
My Name Olivia Stephen form Tx,USA. After 12years of marriage, me and my husband has been into one quarrel or the other until he finally left me and moved to California to be with another woman. I felt my life was over and my kids thought they would never see their father again. i tried to be strong just for the kids but i could not control the pains that torments my heart, my heart was filled with sorrows and pains because i was really in love with my husband. Every day and night i think of him and always wish he would come back to me, I was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Unity can help get ex back fast. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a Love spell for me. 28 hours later, my husband really called me and told me that he miss me and the kids so much, So Amazing!! So that was how he came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and he apologized for his mistake,and for the pain he caused me and the kids. Then from that day,our Marriage was now stronger than how it were before, All thanks to Dr Unity. he is so powerful and i decided to share my story on the internet that Dr.Unity real and powerful spell caster who i wi

Naomi Dreyer
Naomi Dreyer11 months ago

But I do like meat and cheese