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Study Suggests That What Constitutes a Healthy Food May Differ From Person to Person

We tend to think of healthy foods as one general category, but recent research has found that may not be the case. A new study suggests that each person metabolizes food differently, meaning that tailored healthy diets are needed to help individuals meet their health goals.

Participants in the study included 800 people who represented a cross section of the Israeli population. The researchers collected data through health questionnaires, body measurements, blood tests, glucose monitoring, stool samples, and a mobile app that the participants used to report lifestyle and food intake. A total of 46,898 meals were recorded. The participants were given a standardized breakfast in order to determine how a change in diet affected their blood sugar.

In order to ensure compliance, the researchers offered personalized reports on each participant’s response to food, which required strict adherence to the study protocols.

The researchers found that the differences in the way people metabolized foods was notable. In order to find out why, the researchers examined stool samples from each participant. They then conducted personalized dietary interventions on 26 participants. Through these interventions, post-meal blood sugar levels were reduced and the participant’s gut microbiotawas changed.

The researchers suggest their research findings indicate that people with diabetes or pre-diabetes may actually be complying with dietary restrictions but that those dietary restrictions aren’t working for them as individuals.

Researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science conducted the study. It was published on November 19, 2015 in Cell.

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