As you may have noticed if you’re interested in nutrition and health, diets can work in extremely different ways for different people. While you may think the difference has to do with genetics, a new study suggests that may not always be the case.
Instead, even among identical twins, diets can work in very different ways. That has led researchers to conclude that there is no one-size-fits-all diet. Let’s take a look at what the study found and what it means for students in nutrition and health training.
The Study Finds That Even Identical Twins Respond to Diets in Very Different Ways
This latest study followed 1,100 people, 60 per cent of whom were identical twins. Over the course of the study, a group of the participants were placed on a standardized meal plan. Surprisingly, the identical twins had completely different outcomes even when they were on the same diet. Specifically, the researchers found that identical twins metabolized meals that were high in fat at completely different rates and there was only a 30 per cent association in how they metabolized meals that were high in sugar.
The findings suggest that genetics may not play a significant role in nutrition. Instead, some experts believe that the reason diets work for some and not for others has less to do with genes and more to do with gut bacteria.
That would explain why twins in the study reacted differently to the same diets. The twins only had 37 per cent of the same gut microbes, which is only slightly more than the 35 per cent that unrelated people have.
Students in Nutrition and Health Training Can Help Develop Personalized Diets
So do the results of the study mean that all nutritional advice is invalid? Not at all! Just because the study found that diets need to be highly personalized, that doesn’t mean that we can throw out all of the rules surrounding good nutrition. Some things, like reducing calories and avoiding ultra-processed foods, remain excellent advice for anyone looking to manage their weight and eat healthier. That means after your nutrition and health training you can still offer plenty of scientifically-backed advice about healthy eating habits that are true for everyone.
What the study does mean is that some diets and weight management plans, like fasting, skipping breakfast, and low-carb diets, will probably affect people in different ways. Understanding why is something that requires more research.
That may be frustrating for people who want a one-size-fits-all diet, but it is good news for students in nutrition and health programs, who are well-positioned to help people develop personalized diet plans. In your program you’ll learn about important topics like:
- Food fundamentals
- Food microbiology
- Food processing
- Weight managements
That is the sort of expertise that people rely on in order to develop healthy eating habits that work best for them. With your knowledge, you’ll be able to help people eat better and lead healthier lives.
Are you interested in health and nutrition?
Contact the Academy of Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences (AAPS) to learn more about our nutritionist training in Ontario.