A study conducted by the University of Alberta found that mice who were fed diets high in sugar were more susceptible to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) than mice who ate balanced diets.
At six to eight weeks old, female mice were split into two cages. One group was fed a high sugar diet, consisting of 50% sucrose (aka the common sugar we use for baking). The other group ate a traditional lab-fed diet.
After two days of eating this way, the mice were given dextran sodium sulfate, a synthetic molecule that induces colitis.
The mice who consumed more sugar had a weakened immune response, leaving them more likely to develop colitis. This response was caused by an increase in gut permeability (meaning bad bacteria and toxins could pass through the intestines freely) and a decrease in the diversity of good bacteria in the gut microbiome.
Researchers discovered that supplementing the diets with short-chain fatty acids could alleviate the symptoms.