Which Diet Is Best For You?

Which Diet Is Best For You?

The federal government recently released the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which points out that we need to consume less protein and less sugar, or do we? These guidelines profoundly influence many programs such as school lunches, nutritional labels, and government assistance programs, but researchers believe a more personalized diet, instead of this broad approach, may be healthier.What Diet Is Best

Research suggests that each of us metabolize and absorb nutrients differently, depending on one’s gut bacteria, blood type, chemical components, and genetic makeup. A One-Size-Fits-All dietary guideline simply cannot be ideal for everyone, according to Eran Elinav, an immunologist at Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. Dr. Elinav believes that adhering to the same dietary advice for everyone is what has likely caused our obesity epidemic.

Dr. Elinav and his colleagues conducted a study involving 800 participants. All subjects ate the same foods, and yet some subjects exhibited higher levels of blood sugar after consuming ice cream and chocolate while other subjects experienced low to moderate fluctuations in blood sugar. Significant variations were observed after each participant consumed sushi and whole-grain bread, scoffing the glycemic index, which ranks food based on its effects on blood sugar levels.

The researchers went a step further, developing an algorithm that garnered the glucose responses of subjects using information about their gut bacteria, family history, lifestyle, and medications. With the algorithm, the researchers were able to predict the blood sugar responses to foods that the participants had not yet eaten. The efforts of these findings are based upon genetic testing. Dr. Elinav and his fellow researchers still have work to do before personalized diet plans become the norm. The biggest hurdle is that our lifestyles, diet, environmental influences, and genes are so complex.

Studies show that a more personalized diet may mean that you need to consume more or less of certain nutrients such as folate, vitamin C, starches, fatty acids, choline, and caffeine. Researchers strongly believe in a connection between food and our microbiota, our health, and genetic makeup. Although there is still much research needed, scientists believe we could be moving more towards personalized diet plans in the future. In the meantime, where does this information leave you as a consumer? The best advice is to speak with your doctor regarding any necessary dietary changes or restrictions.

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