Ultra-processed food impairs bone quality, increases marrow adiposity and alters gut microbiome in mice

Tamara Travinsky-Shmul, Olga Beresh, Janna Zaretsky, Shelley Griess-Fishheimer, Reut Rozner, Rotem Kalev-Altman, Sveta Penn, Ron Shahar, Efrat Monsonego-Ornan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Ultra processed foods (UPF) consumption is becoming dominant in the global food system, to the point of being the most recent cause of malnutrition. Health outcomes of this diet include obesity and metabolic syndrome; however, its effect on skeletal development has yet to be examined. This project studied the influence of UPF diet on the development and quality of the post-natal skeleton. Young female mice were fed with regular chow diet, UPF diet, UPF diet supplemented with calcium or with multivitamin and mineral complex. Mice fed UPF diet presented unfavorable morphological parameters, evaluated by micro-CT, alongside inferior mechanical performance of the femora, evaluated by three-point bending tests. Growth-plate histology evaluation suggested a modification of the growth pattern. Accumulation of adipose tissue within the bone marrow was significantly higher in the group fed UPF diet. Finally, microbiome 16SrRNA sequencing was used to explore the connection between diets, gut microbial community and skeletal development. Together, we show that consumption of UPF diet during the postnatal developmental period alters the micro-biome and has negative outcomes on bone parameters and bone marrow adiposity. Micronutrients improved these phenotypes only partially. Thus, consuming a wholesome diet that contributes to a healthy microbiota is of a great significance in order to achieve healthy skeletal development.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number3107
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Bone development
  • Bone marrow adiposity
  • Chon-drocyte
  • Growth plate
  • Microbiome
  • Osteoblast
  • Osteoclast
  • Ultra processed food


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