By Vanessa Chalmers Health Reporter For Mailonline
Published: 16:09 GMT, 12 February 2019 | Updated: 16:16 GMT, 12 February 2019
A Western diet high in fat and sugar could increase your risk of dying from sepsis, scientists have said.
Researchers came to the conclusion by studying mice and found the link exists irrespective of someone's gut health and weight.
However, they are yet to discover the specific parts of the unhealthy diet that are to blame, suggesting a high-fat diet like the keto or Atkins diet could also be a risk.
Researchers have suggested hospitals could focus more attention on patients with poor diet to make sure they don't get sepsis.
At least 46,000 people die every year in the UK as a result of the disease, which is an immune response to infection that leads to organ failure.
The Western diet, typically high in fat and sugar, appears to disturb the immune system, making you more susceptible to sepsis, and a quicker death, a study has shown
During the study, led by Brooke Napier, an assistant biology professor at Portland State University, mice were fed two different diets.
The first was a Western diet (WD), characterised as being low in fibre and high in fat and sugar. The other diet was a standard fibre-rich diet (SC).
Mice eating WD showed an increase in chronic inflammation, sepsis severity and higher mortality rates than mice that were fed a normal diet.
Professor Napier said the findings suggest the mice had more severe sepsis and were dying faster because of something in their diet, not because of the weight gain or bacteria in their gut.
The Western diet is loosely defined as one full of fatty and sugary foods, such as burgers, fries and soda.
People often eat foods that are high inSaturated fats Red meats 'Empty' carbohydrates Junk Food
And low inFresh fruits and vegetables Whole Grains Seafood Poultry
Health effects have been linked to things such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, colorectal cancer and dementia.
The study said 'the diet may be directly regulating the innate immune system through an unknown mechanism'.
Professor Napier said: 'The mice's immune system on the Western diet looked and functioned differently. It looks like the diet is manipulating immune cell function so that you're more susceptible to sepsis, and then