Scientists have created bespoke diets using a computer algorithm that learns how individual bodies respond to different foods.
Researchers believe the tailored diets could help stem the rising tide of diabetes, heart disease and obesity, by personalising people’s daily meals and so helping them to adopt healthy eating habits.
The project challenges the idea that general recommendations about healthy foods are suitable for everyone, and instead aims to produce optimised diets based on people’s unique biological make-up.
“We are all different,” said Eran Segal, a computational biologist who runs the project with Eran Elinav at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot. “We see tremendous variability in people’s responses to foods, so if you want to prescribe diets, they have to be personally tailored.”
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.
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