Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Personalized Nutrition

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

The New York Times recently did a piece on how the field of "personalized nutrition" may help explain why people respond so differently to diet based on biology.

This is fairly obvious to me and I have written about this extensively but it's been mostly ignored by the media and even by the scientific community. But for it to appeal to the mainstream, the only usefulness they give is weight loss when nutrition and fitness should be so much more than that. Personalized nutrition is more than about weight loss.

We see the world "personalized" and may use it to justify how we've decided to eat, but the point of the article is that you may very well pick the wrong type of eating for yourself. A type of eating you don't respond to well, just because you were told it was good or you have some bias towards it. It makes sense, most of the education people are given on nutrition and most guidelines are based on a universal approach, that everyone should eat the same. What that one way is, is what people disagree on.

You must approach your own diet with a scientific eye.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

"This month, an Israeli study of personalized nutrition was heralded by a media frenzy. “This diet study upends everything we thought we knew about ‘healthy’ food,” claimed one headline. The study suggested that dieters may be mistakenly eating a lot of some foods, like tomatoes, that are good for most people, but bad for them. And it raised the possibility that an individualized approach to nutrition could eventually supplant national guidelines meant for the entire public.


The good news is that a person’s susceptibility to weight gain may not be written in stone. After a month on a low-carbohydrate diet, the high insulin responders were able to tolerate more carbohydrates without their metabolisms slowing down so much (though we don’t know how long this protective effect lasts).

Many other aspects of biology — genetic and acquired — undoubtedly influence how we respond to diet. But in the end, the Israeli study provides little reason to believe that a complicated 21st-century technology will work any better than a simple dietary prescription pioneered decades ago. We don’t need an app to control post-meal blood sugar; we just need to eat fewer processed carbohydrates.

Analyses of large groups of people followed carefully over many years, like the Nurses’ Health Study, suggest that many cases of diabetes and heart disease can be prevented by adhering to a few straightforward dietary practices. For this reason, it’s critically important that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015, scheduled for release by the Department of Agriculture in the next few weeks, reflect the latest science. They should jettison the traditional emphasis on low-fat diets, which we now know have no special benefit for body weight or general health, and focus more on the quality of the carbohydrates we are eating."

Read it in it's entirety from The New York Times.

My name is Sam Yang. I'm a martial artist, entrepreneur, fitness nerd, information geek, and productivity nut. For more useful information, join my newsletter. You can also connect to All Out Effort on Facebook and Twitter. For more philosophical posts, check out Must Triumph

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