Given the central role of the digestive tract and its related organs in the processes of digestion and absorption, it should come as no surprise that the food we eat has critical and complex interactions with the gastrointestinal tract and its contents, including the microbiota. The nature of these interactions is influenced not only by the composition of the diet and the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract, but also by psychosocial and cultural factors. The general public—and in particular those who suffer from gastrointestinal ailments—rightly perceive their diet as being a major determinant of such symptoms and seek guidance on optimal dietary regimens. Many medical practitioners, including gastroenterologists, are unfortunately often ill-prepared to deal with such issues. This is a reflection of the lack of education on the topic of diet and nutrition in many curricula.
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