There are certain norms that we tend to go by whenever we hear someone talking about a diet or would like to begin the dieting process for ourselves.
I’ve heard so many people say, “Just eat fruits, so you get natural sugar, and limit your fat and meat intake, you’ll be fine.” and things like, “vegetables and whole grains are so great for you, it’ll help in your diet.”
I can’t help but wonder, is that enough? Does this same routine work for everybody? Isn’t every person’s metabolism different? And if so, shouldn’t we need personalized diets from professionals?
Okay, I know. Those were too many questions, too many things to wonder.
We’re all a little confused, trying to find the right way to go about our health journey. We think we’re defined by what we eat, and at a time by what we don’t eat. How is it that our choices in food overwhelm us?
There are a few approaches that we have come up with over the years and I would like to talk about them in this article.
Stick around until the end.
The Talk about Microbes
Being a part of the health community, I have had the chance to meet quite a few doctors. When I met one of my old friends, who is now an immunologist and microbiome researcher, she told me something interesting. She told me that microbes are supposed to be an integral part of our digestive system.
Microbes live in our gut and determine how much or how less fiber along with complex carbohydrates will get digested through the day. They also determine the amount of fat a person will absorb through foods.
There have been multiple pieces of research over the years, with several microbiomes i.e. the genes in archaea, bacteria, fungi, and other microbes to see how they responded to each meal. Personalized diet plans were given to each person involved in the research.
By carrying out extensive analysis and sequencing on the genes in the stool samples and comparing them with the ones collected previously, they were able to find what effects were seen on a person’s blood sugar, with each food.
Microbiomes change. Depending on the food consumed during the previous days and the day itself. The number of carbohydrates, protein, and fat intake from foods shows how the microbiome changed.
Now, this changes with every person, their microbiomes, and how they react to food during the digestion process.
Go by the Book
Like I said before, we’re too eager to suggest a diet plan to people without understanding much about it. We’re not sure how a particular food will affect a person.
Rather than giving someone else’s example, I’ll tell you about me. I have been having a glass of apple juice for breakfast, with a small all-veggie sandwich. Certainly, I thought, this was the healthier option, than to have a bagel in the morning with coffee.
It was only recently that I found out that my blood sugar would go out of the roof when I had the said breakfast. Eventually, I found that when I switched the orange juice for apple juice, and my sandwich for savory quinoa, my blood sugar remained constant.
That’s the thing about personalized nutrition, right? We’re all different. So, experimentation is the key.
As for me, I like the idea of having quinoa for breakfast so it’s great. The only downside? I have to wake up a little early to make it.
My body’s response to these foods intrigued me to find out more about the phenomenon. High blood sugar levels in the short term end in fatigue and headaches, while in the long term, it becomes the bearer of diabetes.
On my journey to finding more about it, I found through research that the results of blood sugar would vary even when twins were involved in the experiment with a standardized list of foods to be consumed.
The Gene Game
I’d like to continue what I was saying before. Well, twins of course. While their DNA and genetics are the same, any twins bodies work as individuals.
This is where customized diet plans come into the picture. One of the twins could respond to carbohydrates well enough, to fill them up and not trigger a glucose spike, the other twin could see an immediate spike in their levels, or a double-dip too.
Research also shows that not all types of carbs work either. There might be certain low glycemic foods that could trigger the spike. An inexperienced eye might not be able to find out why this would happen.
A bunch of other factors also accounted for how the body responded. The amount of sleep and exercise one would get, their biological rhythms, etc. all are a part of the way we respond to the food we consume.
Personalize or Not?
For most people, i.e. when you generalize the equation, it has been found that the generalized diet works. It helps people stay healthy and maintain their lifestyle for the better.
In a lot of circumstances, people are quick to blame diabetes and obesity on the entirety of the nutritional guidelines and how we fail to follow them through or miss out on certain details.
Now that there is evidence of how changes in diet for each can vary the results, we can see the future of a personalized diet.
There is no one-size-fits-all plan that can be followed. If you fit into the category, which benefits from a standardized diet plan, kudos to you.
If you fall into the category where the regular advice doesn’t work, as it happens with me, then there’s no need to wait.
Grab hold of a nutritionist that you trust and get a diet plan that works for you.
With a bright future of personalized nutrition, people seeking a healthy lifestyle can rejoice. Soon there won’t be a need to commit to harsh changes in their diet to become healthy. The need to spread false hope will be eliminated since each patient will be studied personally to create a diet that works for them.
There is always a little something that we will learn along the way. That’s how progress works, right?
Soon we shall be able to gain more knowledge about personalized diets for the special category.
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