Identical foods might be healthy or unhealthy for different people

A study published in the journal Cell strongly indicates that different people respond very differently to the same foods — meaning that what’s healthy for one person to eat might be unhealthy for someone else.

Personalised nutrition predictor? Maybe soon!
Personalised nutrition predictor? Maybe soon!

Perhaps this isn’t overly surprising. However there are two things we can learn from this:

1. Anyone proposing a single diet that is perfect for everyone is probably wrong.

2. We may soon be able to produce diets that are personalised for the individual.

The researchers fitted blood-sugar monitors to participants, taking measurements every 5 minutes for a full week. Here’s an indication of the variety they noticed:

Participant A maintained a stable blood glucose level after eating a cookie but responded with elevated glucose levels after eating a banana, while Participant B experienced an increase in blood glucose level after eating a cookie, but not a banana.

They went on to develop a “diet predictor” which incorporated features such as meal composition, daily activity, blood parameters, gut bacteria measurements, and more. This was used to predict the responses of subsequent participants to personalised diets. This algorithm proved to be as good as an expert dietician at producing a diet which reduce blood-sugar spikes.

Would you follow a personalised diet if a computer reckoned it would be healthier for you?

You can read more about the research at Meta Science News.