What is Bio-individuality?

What is Bio-individuality?

How can a personalized diet help you?

We have come across an interesting and scientifically proven theory about ensuring that what you eat will truly help your body and not cause it harm. But could the food that nourishes you, actually harm another? A recent study called the Personalized Nutrition Project was presented in Germany at the Human Microbione conference. The project challenges the idea that general recommendations about healthy foods are suitable for everyone, and instead aims to produce optimized diets based on people’s unique biological make-up. In other words, if you find that eating bananas can have a detrimental influence on your bladder (through more infections), even though bananas are deemed to be healthy, you may choose to remove that “healthy” food from your diet. Others find that whole grains can cause them to lose weight or gain weight and may even have a negative impact on their thyroid.
“We are all different,”
said Eran Segal,a computational biologist who runs the project with Eran Elinav at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Germany.
“We see tremendous variability in people’s responses to foods….”
An early trial, run by Segal and Elinav, found that tailored diets - designed with the computer algorithm - benefited 20 people with pre-diabetes, by preventing high spikes in blood glucose levels after meals. Some of the participants found their blood glucose had returned to healthy levels during the course of the study.
“In the end, I think this will be relevant for everyone, whether they want to lose weight, or to maintain their weight,”
Segal said. Segal believes that personalized diets could be more effective, and help people to control their blood sugar and prevent them developing diseases.
“Blood glucose is key to weight management and diabetes, and is linked to many, many other diseases, including cancer,”
he said. The scientists gathered data on how people responded to around 50,000 meals, and found that they varied enormously.
“In some people, when they have bread, they show no change in glucose levels, but others spike dramatically,”
Segal said. To investigate why people were so different, the researchers looked at the make-up of the participants’ microbiomes: the rich collection of bugs that lived in their guts. They found that the types of microbes they harbored had a significant impact on how their bodies responded to meals. In the last part of the study, the researchers trained a computer algorithm on their data and found that it could accurately predict how different people would respond to particular meals. To test the algorithm, Segal and Elinav used it to draw up bespoke diets for 20 pre-diabetic people. In the small trial each patient was given two very different diets. In the first week, their diet was tailored to minimize spikes in their blood glucose levels. In the second week, their diet was designed to have the same calorie content, but not to control their blood sugar.
“In all these cases, there was a big difference between the good diet and the bad diet, even though they contained the same calories,”
said Segal.
“By personalizing these diets, on the good week, in some people, blood glucose fell to healthy levels, whereas in the bad diet week, they had glucose spikes that would be considered as glucose intolerant.”
The study highlights how traditional thinking around diets is flawed in the assumption that people put on weight purely because their meals contain more calories than they burn off. “Calories are definitely an important player, but we’ve been led to think that it’s the only player, and that is absolutely not true,” said Segal. Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, and author of the 2015 book, The Diet Myth, said that studies have found even identical twins to respond differently to similar diets, and that a difference in gut microbes was partly responsible.
“This whole idea of personalized diets is the direction that we are moving in,”
he said. The study results actually confirm what the Hallelujah Diet has been saying all along. That is, creating a diet filled with mega amounts of vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients and micro-nutrients while eliminating blood sugar boosting (inflammatory) foods is key in reversing disease. Based on the study above, it would seem prudent to either begin or continue a consistent regimen of probiotics to ensure your gut is able to maximize the benefits from the foods you are consuming. While ensuring gut bacteria is important in the choice of foods that we consume, other factors to customize a diet for your specific bio-individuality include:
  • Age

    You may not likely be eating the same types or amounts of food as you did even 10 years ago. As Ann has aged, she has found that a significant reduction in fruits has minimized her hot flashes. You may have noticed an improvement in your health by reducing or even eliminating a food that is considered healthy.
  • DNA

    While we know that our future is not dependent on our genes, it makes sense to understand that if there is a genetic weakness in our family, we should take note and consume only the foods that will strengthen our own genes so as not to fall victim to that weakened DNA. So, if you have a family history of cancer, you would want to eliminate animal and dairy products as well as ensure a high consumption of vegetables, leafy greens, fruits, seeds and nuts. Consuming concentrated nutrients in the form of vegetable juices (that have been shown to repair damaged DNA) is a fantastic way to acquire mega-nutrition.
  • Culture

    While it is easy to say that you aren’t eating like your neighbors, the truth is, that unless you grow your own foods, your supermarket will likely dictate the variety, timeliness and quality of the foods you can choose.
  • Climate

    Not everyone lives in a lush, tropical, long growing season where fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts are always fresh and available. Seasonal eating is the best most of us can do while acknowledging that winter vegetables may have more starch but can retain our warmth easier than summer ones.
  • Lifestyle

    Our food choices must also depend on how active we are. If the only movement we find ourselves experiencing during the day is our fingers on a computer, then our diet must be more restricted to less fats, less starchy carbohydrates and ensuring nutrition comes from lower calorie source foods. Your bio-individuality truly does mean that your diet may look different than other healthful eaters. Your goal hasn’t changed though. You still want to maintain the highest standard of quality nutritional intake with the least amount inflammation. Hence, the Hallelujah Diet, only tweaked, just for you!

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