If you’ve ever wondered why the latest fad diet only makes you gain weight, the answer may be in your blood.
Nutrition experts are increasingly turning to scientific tests, such as DNA tests, to tailor diets specifically for individuals.
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The approach, known as “personal nutrition”, follows a promising international study that showed vastly different reactions to the same diet.
The study suggested that factors such as gut bacteria, meal timing and exercise were just as important to weight management as the nutritional makeup of food.
Even identical twins, who share the exact same genes, had different responses to identical foods, according to the study conducted at King’s College, London and Massachusetts General Hospital in the United States.
However, some experts have warned against “overpromising” what personal nutrition can deliver until the science is more developed.
Brisbane clinical nutritionist Katie King is among those pioneering “personal nutrition” by analysing clients’ family history, medical records and blood markers.
“The whole concept of personalised nutrition really marries science to diet,” she says.
“People need to realise that if they if try something and after a couple of weeks they don’t feel good and they’re not losing weight, they need to step out of that mindset and say: maybe this isn’t the right thing for me.
“At the end of the day, the food that is right for you may be very different than the food that is right for somebody else.”
One of King’s clients, Janice Denman, says she’s cut her daily use of migraine medication from three pills to one after switching diets.
“It’s been life-changing,” she says.
“They looked at my body and my health issues … as opposed to going to a dietitian where everyone’s on the food pyramid and it’s the same story for each person.”
However, other researchers have warned about “gaps in the evidence base” for personalised nutrition.
‘Much research is needed’
“Scientists working in this area have expressed concerns about over-promising, individually as well as through institutional guidelines and statements,” the authors – from the US, UK, Spain, Singapore and New Zealand – wrote in the British Medical Journal.
They were especially cautious about suggestions that genetic information could be used to recommend a specific diet.
“The consensus is that much research is needed before personalised nutrition can deliver the expected benefits,” they wrote.
“Randomised controlled trials are essential to providing proof of concept and to giving scientific credibility to the concept of personalised nutrition.”
This article originally appeared on 7NEWS