Are Designer Diets Beneficial for Everyone?

A new study has found a diet that’s good for some, may not be as good for others and that one of the keys could be in our gut bacteria.

Researchers from Israel have discovered that people’s blood sugar levels react very differently when they’re given the same meal.

The study published in science journal Cell, suggests our diets should be tailored to us as individuals and that a one-size-fits-all approach may not work for everyone.

The 800 study participants were fitted with blood glucose monitors and ate standardised meals for one week. Despite eating the same food, their blood glucose levels varied dramatically after eating.

Our blood glucose levels rise and fall after every meal, however a high blood glucose level over a long period of time can cause type 2 diabetes.

Eating fruits and vegetables, including complex carbohydrates like brown rice and whole grains, is recommended to help moderate our blood glucose levels.

But, unusually, one woman involved in the study repeatedly saw a higher than normal spike in her blood glucose after eating tomatoes, a healthy fruit.

“It turned out that foods on the ‘good’ diet for one person were sometimes on another participant’s ‘bad’ list,” says researcher Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

To understand why people reacted differently, researchers also looked at their gut microbes and found it was one of the key factors influencing how our bodies respond to food.

Our body mass index (BMI), sleep, exercise, blood pressure and cholesterol levels were also factors.

Bupa dietitian Gemma Cosgriff agrees there is no one-size-fits-all diet, but says it’s important not to make radical changes without consulting an accredited practising dietitian or GP.

“It’s not surprising that a study like this might come out to show that we also might have biological differences that influence how best we might fuel ourselves,” says Cosgriff.

 “Every person is different based on their genetics, their past habits, their body composition, their level of fitness, their health needs,” says Cosgriff.

She recommends a balanced diet using the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating as a starting point.

“An individual’s diet will need to take into consideration many factors, including food preferences, cultural preferences, lifestyle, food supply, access and cost,” says Cosgriff.

It’s hoped in the future, the study will lead to the development of a tool which could help people tailor their diet to their biological make-up.

Back to top