The human gut microbiome plays several essential roles that are implicated in human health and the regulation of body weight. There are up to 1000 different species and the specific impacts of each is not yet understood, but research does support that a certain ratios of phylum level gut microbiota are implicated in obesity. Additionally, increased gut microbiota diversity is characteristic of normal-weight persons, while decreased diversity and gut microbiota dysbiosis is characteristic in obese persons. There is ample research that correlates specific food components, such as prebiotics, probiotics, fat and fiber, with changes in gut microbiota diversity and function. This work seeks to analyze research of these food components and their relation to gut microbiota, body weight and health. Food components that are consumed more highly in plant-based diets are those that are conducive to diverse gut microbiota and positive health outcomes, especially in relation to improvements in health that are related to obesity. The Mediterranean and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diets are plant-based diets that have been correlated with positive health outcomes, including weight loss and weight management, and this is largely due to the increased consumption of dietary components that favorably modulate the gut microbiota.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 2020


Dr. Mary Wilson

Mentor Professional Affiliation

Department of Applied Human Sciences

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars


Family and Consumer Sciences