04 Sep Finding a diet that’s tailored to you
Why do you need a personalized diet?
Diets are like fashion – what looks fantastic on one person, may just look ridiculous on someone else. Not everyone can rock the leather mini skirt! Similarly, a diet approach that works well for many people, may not be right for you.
There’s a lot of hype about personalized diets right now. But what does it mean and why might you need one? Your genetic profile can influence how your body absorbs different foods and determine whether you would benefit from certain dietary approaches. But genetics doesn’t tell the whole story.
To understand your current dietary needs, and whether you would benefit from any supplements, you need to look at the whole picture. Your metabolites, proteins, nutrients, your current dietary intake and any health conditions. Only by taking an integrated view of your current health profile can you really design a personalized diet.
You may need more than the recommended daily intake
Some individuals, for example, have a genetic profile that impairs their B-vitamin metabolism. This can lead to higher blood pressure and an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Even when these people consume the recommended amount of B-vitamins, their metabolic profile still indicates a B-vitamin deficiency. As such, these people are likely to benefit from taking more than the daily recommended B-vitamin intake.
Beware the hidden vitamins in common foods
Many people do not realize that our staples such as bread, pasta, cereal and flour products are fortified with folic acid for example. So you could exceed the upper limit for folic acid without realizing it. Excessive folic acid could suppress immune function. Only by testing metabolites would you pick up on this.
Taking your health conditions into account
It is important to take all health conditions as well as dietary preferences into account when designing a personalized diet. Diet is a crucial and modifiable factor that can influence a person’s risk for developing disease, especially chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease or Type 2 diabetes.
Some healthy diets have the opposite effect
There are a number of dietary approaches, such as Mediterranean-style diets, that have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic conditions. While these diets are typically healthy, in some people they may also have an opposing effect on other important dietary factors.
Phytates, found in leafy greens and legumes for example, are a dietary compound, which can lower the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer, or obesity. On the other hand, phytates prevent the absorption of iron, which is related to anemia and can lead to fatigue. This is especially concerning in vegetarians, who typically have high intakes of phytates and low intakes of iron.
Understanding your complex dietary needs
Pulling together your typical dietary intake and food preferences with your metabolite, protein and nutrient profiles gives your full dietary picture. Only by connecting the dots, can you discover specific deficiencies and flag any dietary approaches that may not work for you.
Know which supplements you should be taking
A personalized diet should identify the foods you should be eating or avoiding, and any supplements your should be taking. It should also warn you of any excessive intake of vitamins and minerals.
Why genetics is not enough
Genetics can only go so far. It can only reveal your inherited risks and traits. It can’t tell you what is going on in your body right now – and whether you have any nutritional deficiencies or toxins. Designing a diet based purely on genetic testing could overlook dangerous deficiencies or excessive levels of vitamins or minerals. A truly personalized diet should be based on a complete assessment of your current health status.
As for the leather mini-skirt. Only your best friend can tell you that.
Find out more about Molecular You Personalized Diet Assessments.