Eating healthier and/or losing weight is another popular resolution that many of us likely (re-)committed to a few weeks ago. A common journey on this path is that we get highly motivated following a new diet, are encouraged by initial results and then hit a slump, or reversal for a plethora or reasons: the diet is too restrictive, you start craving off-limit foods, your energy levels drop, etc. You then abandon the diet and proceed to beat yourself up for failing (see below).
The thing to keep in mind is that it’s probably not you, it’s the diet. That’s what the largest ongoing scientific nutrition study ever performed suggests. The PREDICT1 study is a collaboration between scientists at King's College in London, Massachusetts General Hospital and nutritional science company ZOE.
The focus of PREDICT1 was on measuring how blood levels of markers such as glucose, insulin and fat changed in response to specific meals. Data on activity, sleep, hunger and gut bacteria were also collected. Importantly, most of the participants were pairs of twins, adding a genetic layer of information.
The first results of the study were published last year in Nature Medicine and showed a wide variation in individual’s blood responses to the same meals, whether they contained carbohydrates or fat. This applied to pairs of twins as well. In fact, personal differences in metabolism due to factors such as the gut microbiome, meal timing and exercise were just as important as the nutritional composition of foods in the metabolic responses.
This a truly groundbreaking study that resoundingly confirms that when it comes to diet, you are an N=1. The way to get to the right diet for you is to experiment and track your results, while keeping the long-term goal firmly in mind.Go deeper: listen to Sarah Berry, PhD - one of the PREDICT researchers discuss the results (start at 36:55). Sign up for the Zoe personalized nutrition program (waitlist)