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Nutrition is personal. Identical foods produce “healthy” and “unhealthy” responses in different individuals. ~Cell article

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In today’s issue of Cell, two groups lead by Eran Elinav and Eran Segal have presented a stunning paper providing startling new insight into the personal nature of nutrition. 

The Israeli research teams have demonstrated that there exists a high degree of variability in the responses of different individuals to identical meals, and through the elegant application of machine learning have provided insight into the diverse factors underlying this variability.

As genetic factors are known to modulate and individuals innate responses to diseases, medications, and blood metabolites, it may come as no surprise that individuals do not respond to identical foods in the same manner.

Following a meal, glucose levels increase according to the type of foods that are ingested, and currently meal carbohydrate or derived glycemic index are used to estimate the postprandial (post-meal) glycemic responses (PPGR). These factors assume that PPGRs are solely dependent on the intrinsic properties of the ingested food, and this assumption is the basis of universal dietary recommendations.

While is has been proposed that individual differences in PPGR may be influenced by diverse factors included genetics, lifestyle, and insulin sensitivity, as well as the activity levels of exocrine pancreatic and glucose transporters, the influence of gut microbiota on PPGR is relatively poorly understood.

Gut bacteria are the predictor of the differences:


We demonstrate that PPGRs (postprandial glycemic responses) are highly variable across individuals even when they consume the same standardized meals. We further show that an algorithm that integrates clinical and microbiome features can accurately predict personalized PPGRs to complex, real- life meals even in a second independently collected validation cohort of 100 participants. Finally, personalized dietary interventions based on this algorithm induced lower PPGRs and were accompanied by consistent gut microbiota alterations.

The methodology was that the persons self reported their diet. 

I hope they controlled for liars, given...

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