There may truly not be a one-size-fits-all diet. Your DNA may determine the optimal diet for you.
Researchers are finding that minor genetic differences could impact how each individual is able to utilize the energy of various nutrients.
The study, performed in fruit flies, whose metabolism genetics closely resembles that of humans, looked at how 200 different members of the same population tolerated carbohydrates, proteins, and fats differently. Each individual fruit fly’s genome was fully mapped, which allowed the researchers to link different reactions to different diets to the genes of each of the flies.
- Small differences in the genetics of each of the fruit flies determined whether they were able to survive well on a high sugar diet.
- The researchers discovered and identified a number of genes that contribute to sugar metabolism in fruit flies. Most of these same genes are also found in humans and in previous genetic research were suggested to play a role in obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The takeaway: This particular study is part of a much broader field of research known as nutrigenomics, which looks at how our genes react to certain nutrients and how our genes may determine how our bodies react to certain nutrients. Genetic differences are probably why one person may do well on a vegan diet while another does well on a keto diet. Though more human studies must be done, it is likely that nutrigenomics will play an important role in how some diseases are treated in the future. Metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes could be managed with a nutritional plan based on a person’s individual genome.
And beyond even the treatment of diseases, knowing how your individual genes react to certain foods could help determine your personalized optimal diet, rather than seeking the latest “healthy diet trend” that may or may not actually be a good fit for your unique makeup.