Rugby and meat: a treat for the gut? A study suggests yes. Here Tony Woodcock (left) and Owen Franks of the All Blacks rugby team turn sausages on the barbecue in 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand. Phil Walter/Getty Images hide caption toggle caption Phil Walter/Getty Images The Salt Exercise And Protein May Help Good Gut Bacteria Get Their Groove On June 13, 2014 A new study of athletes suggests exercise may help support a rich, diverse mix of bacteria in the gut. But scientists say the athletes' high-protein diet may also be supporting the community.