The entire diet book industry is based on a simple concept. If you follow what’s in my book, you too will lose weight and keep it off! What if that wasn’t even close to true? If there was no single perfect diet for everyone? That’s what researchers seem to have found.
Predicting the Perfect Diet
A while back, I mentioned here how important gut bacteria is in determining your weight. The evidence continues to grow that shows that your microbiome (gut bacteria) may influence your weight and your health more than what you do or don’t eat.
A team of researchers from the US, the UK, and Sweden teamed up for work on PREDICT 1, the largest dietary study of its kind, using technology to help them study the nutritional response of their over 1,000 participants. The findings of the project were recently published.
Tim Spector, Professor and Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College, London, along with his team of nutritional experts, studied how food impacts blood levels of markers such as insulin, glucose, and fat. What made this study especially unique is that the researchers studied mostly sets of twins.
Nutrients mean less (much less) than we thought?
The most significant things PREDICT 1 showed are that everyone responds to nutrients very differently and that the composition of the foods we eat only goes so far (not even one-third of the way) in determining our response. Meaning, we all have our own individually unique response to what we eat. Even identical twins do not respond in the same way to the same nutrients. So, no one diet is right for every person.
What this means is that (even if we were identical twins), if you and I ate the same food, be it a meal of raw carrots or a meal of rocky road ice cream, the food would affect us differently. And, the fat, protein, and carbohydrates found in the ice cream or carrots play only a small part (less than a 33%) in determining what effect the food will have on our weight, blood sugar, or our cardiac health.
So, if it’s not genes and it’s not the nutrient content of the food, what is responsible for how your body responds to what you eat? Topping the list: the Microbiome!
What is the Microbiome?
The microbiome is the community of bacteria that live in your intestines. There are literally many billions of bacteria of hundreds of types that live there. These bacteria operate as a second immune system and also eat the food you eat. They can also excrete good or bad chemicals.
What Can You Do?
First, control what you eat. A great book on the topic was written by John Pitts, M.D. of our Colorado HQ clinic:
Next, control your microbiome. There are two ways to do that, first is to use a pre or probiotic. A prebiotic is basically bacteria food that you eat that tries to promote the healthy gut bacteria by providing the food they like. A probiotic is gut bacteria. I don’t make any money by endorsing this one, but Dr. Axe has a nice formula.
Josh Axe is a nutrition expert who we have treated, here is his testimonial video:
The upshot? Keeping the weight off is only 1/3 about what you eat. It’s also about what lives in your gut! So spend some time figuring both parts of the equation out for you!