The Diet Myth Tim Spector, microbiome, personal diets

KITLIVING

continued over

Most of us can relate to 'cutting

down', poring over peoples' before and

after pics, or following a diet that promises

to solve all our problems if we only cut this

out, count so many points, don't exceed

our allotted 'syns' or even get our weekly

food pre-portioned and delivered in a box.

There are hundreds - maybe

thousands - of diets out there. Many

are primarily based on a one-size-fits-all

approach, mainly focusing on calories

in versus calories out. Many of these,

certainly the more mainstream, have

a proven success rate for thousands

of people - being more mindful, being

accountable at weigh-meetings and being

encouraged to get more regular exercise

all help - but they don't work for everyone

and many people struggle to maintain

results and regain weight -sometimes

even more.

There are many reasons for this -

commitment being just one of them -

but what works for one person, doesn't

necessarily mean it will work for the next

person. Even those following the same

plan to the tee will get different results.

This is not a new discovery, it's something

nutrition experts have known for years.

While there have been previous

attempts to provide personalised diets in

the past, like The Blood Type Diet, other

studies have also been looking at how

we metabolise food and have found that

we can do it very differently - even when

participants have included identical twins.

Bespoke plans?

That's why many experts now believe

that personalised diets based on genetics

- known as 'nutrigenomics' - could

transform the way people not only lose

weight but even help to treat diet-related

diseases.

This is backed up by findings from one

notable study, Predict, by researchers at

King's College, London, Harvard Medical

School and nutritional science company

ZOE. It is the largest experiment to look

at individual responses to food, which

involved thousands of participants from

the US and UK (including twins) being

monitored, looking at blood levels of

markers, like sugar, insulin and fat change

in response to certain meals, along with

information on activity, sleep, hunger and

gut bacteria (microbiome).

Using machine-learning algorithms,

ZOE is analysing the data in the hope

of developing an app to give people the " I believe that diversity,

both in the food we

eat and the microbes

we feed, is the key.

- Tim Spector, author

of The Diet Myth

Index

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