Difference Is Beautiful

Defining a Healthy Diet for Everyone on the Planet

PrintIt’s not surprising that people can’t agree on dietary guidelines. New research in Cell suggests that a healthy diet for everyone can be different, based upon differences in how individuals metabolize their food. The authors explain:

Here, we continuously monitored week-long glucose levels in an 800-person cohort, measured responses to 46,898 meals, and found high variability in the response to identical meals, suggesting that universal dietary recommendations may have limited utility.

By carefully controlling the food that a group of 800 individuals consumed in more than 46,898 meals and monitoring their response, these researchers found profound differences in the metabolic responses among different individuals to the very same meal. These differences were driven by differences in body shape and weight, gut microbes, genetic profiles, physical activity patterns, and other factors. They found that what might be right for one person to eat based on their metabolic response might be precisely wrong for another person. Senior investigator Eran Segal commented:

We think we know how to treat these conditions, and it’s just that people are not listening and are eating out of control. But maybe people are actually compliant and in many cases we were giving them the wrong advice.

So perhaps finding common ground on dietary guidelines is a fool’s errand. Optimal dietary guidance that works for everyone might be the wrong goal. Get ready. A wave of personalized dietary plans — and gimmicks — will be sweeping over us soon.

We’re all special.

Click here for the study and here to read more in the Atlantic.

Difference Is Beautiful, photograph © photogramma1 / flickr

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November 22, 2015

2 Responses to “Defining a Healthy Diet for Everyone on the Planet”

  1. November 22, 2015 at 9:33 am, Allen Browne said:

    “Obesity is a heterogeneous disease” – Lee Kaplan, Blackburn Obesity Course, 2015
    “Responses to specific actions are a bell shaped curve” – my biology professor, Brown U, 1964.

    Yup! we are all special and unique versions of a theme.

  2. November 22, 2015 at 11:51 pm, Carolyn said:

    Let me know if you are looking for anymore volunteers!