Collaborative Study between Duke Diet and Fitness Center and David Lab – On HOLD due to COVID-19

This study is on indefinite hold due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The David Lab is excited to announce that we are recruiting participants from Duke Diet and Fitness Center (DFC) for a study on how people respond to information on breakdown products of food that we can measure in their stool.

More information:

What does the study involve?

This study will take place over a three-week period.  For these three weeks, participants will be asked to collect samples of their stool daily from Monday to Friday, with optional sampling on weekends.  We will measure levels of butyrate, a breakdown product of dietary fiber, in each sample and return these measurements to participants.

What is butyrate?

Butyrate is produced when bacteria in the human gut digest fiber in foods we eat.  Butyrate is a type of compound called a short-chain fatty acid.   What are short-chain fatty acids?

Why is this study being done?

Most Americans do not consume the recommended amount of fiber. Fiber is an important nutrient not only for our own health, but for the health of the bacteria in our digestive system (gut). When gut bacteria feed on fiber, they produce compounds, including butyrate, that support human health. We can measure the amount of butyrate in stool and return it to individuals who provide a stool sample.  We have an idea that butyrate may be useful as a marker of fiber intake. We want to understand how people interpret and use this information.

When is the study taking place?

Enrollment starts in Summer 2019 and will continue until our participant goal has been met.

Is compensation provided for participation?

No financial compensation is provided for participating in the study.  All participants will have their data returned to them, consisting of daily butyrate measurements and an estimate of the fiber content of meals they ordered in the DFC cafeteria.  Participants will also receive a basic report that provides an overview of their gut bacteria (often called “gut microbiome”) at the beginning and end of the study.

Next steps:

Interested in enrolling?  If you are a Duke DFC client, click here to begin the screening and consent process.

Have questions? If you are interested in participating or would like more information, please email our study team at