Eating habits need personal tailoring

Patrick Beel-Chaves enjoys an apple, part of his attempt to live a healthier lifestyle. THE PROJECTOR/Aidan Binne

Patrick Beel-Chaves enjoys an apple, part of his attempt to live a healthier lifestyle. THE PROJECTOR/Aidan Binne

A new study may finally explain why diets only work for some.

According to the study, published in the scientific journal Cell, people eating identical meals will have different glucose responses. Other factors affecting the success of diets are exercise habits and gut microbiota—microorganisms that are unique to each individual. The study suggests personalized diets may help people attain greater health benefits than generic plans.

The study comes as no surprise to Coralee Hill, who runs the Dial-a-Dietitian program at the Misericordia Health Centre.

“There is no ‘one size fits all approach’ to any dietary or nutrition intervention,” said Hill. “There are many factors affecting one’s ability to eat, process or metabolize food, including things like gut flora and non-food components,” Hill said.

Patrick Beel-Chaves, a culinary arts student who is making an effort to live a healthier lifestyle, thinks he would lead a healthier life on a diet tailored to him rather than on an existing diet plan.

“There are so many different diets available, and choosing one on your own can be confusing,” Beel-Chaves said.

“If I would have had one that I had a more personal connection to, and was suited to my lifestyle, I think it would have worked better,” said Beel-Chaves.

The best way to get a diet plan tailored to individual needs is to visit a registered dietitian, Hill said. She explained that every diet is different, and it is important to research and consult a professional about the quality and legitimacy of a diet before undergoing a drastic lifestyle change.

“Registered dietitians are the experts when it comes to taking the science of nutrition and with the individual, providing practical everyday advice that is personalized. A registered dietitian can a help them with that,” said Hill.

Dial-a-Dietitian is a free service for Manitobans, who can call 204-788- 8248 or 1-877-830-2892 with food and healthy eating questions.

Hill also stressed that the success of a diet is not always measured by weight loss, but by overall health and well-being.