You are what you eat – why the future of nutrition is personal

(Tim Spector/ The Conversation) — Humans are complicated, and there are many things that influence our health. There are things we can’t change, like our age or genetic makeup, and the things we can, such as our choice of food and drink. There are also the trillions of bacteria that live in our guts – collectively known as the microbiome – that have a significant impact on our health and digestion.

The foods we eat are mixtures of many nutrients that affect the body and microbiome in different ways, so unravelling the relationship between diet, metabolism and health is no simple matter. A new study from the University of Minnesota adds yet another layer of complexity, showing that foods that have comparable nutritional profiles can have very different effects on the microbiome.

Feeding the five trillion
While we know that a more diverse microbiome is usually an indicator of better gut health, we understand little about how specific foods affect the abundance of different microbial species. (…)

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