USDA Dietary Guidelines
The USDA New Dietary Guidelines are hot off the press. Here are some of the most notable changes: we can now drink up to 5 cups of coffee a day, we do not need to worry about the cholesterol in eggs and we should be sure to lessen our sugar to 10 teaspoons a day or less. What is important to note is that these guidelines are general guidelines, geared towards the general population. They are not guidelines which should be followed by every person.
Are people different in the way they metabolize and digest foods based on their genetic makeup, or the bacteria in their guts or even their lifestyles and environment?
Since people are affected by foods differently, diet counseling should also be individualized. There are many factors to take into account; each person and what they eat, how and when they eat and their lifestyles. Studies have even shown that individuals react differently to foods as far as blood sugar is concerned, for some people eating sweets can spike their blood sugar while for others it can remain quite even. For more on this go to www.cell.com. For example, one person may eat a cracker and have a rise in blood sugar and another person may eat that same cracker and have a more even-keeled blood sugar response.
The interaction between genes, the environment and diet, the microbiome, is in it’s infancy. Environments alone add great complexity to trying to figure out personalized diets, as well as exposure to toxic chemicals or even one’s stress levels.
We need more substantial data to be able to make dietary recommendations for individuals. Today, there is information which links 38 genes to nutrition metabolism. These findings are being researched by nutrition genetic companies such as Nutrigenomix. The co-founder of Nutrigenomix, Ahmed El-Sohemy says that, “some people may be able to drink 4-5 cups of coffee a day, but for those with the CYP1A2 gene they may be more sensitive and be limited to just 2 cups a day.”
Personalized Nutrition is the Future
Here’s the problem, Nutrigenomics is in it’s infancy and the gut microbiome is just starting to be understood. We have a long way to go before we are able to prescribe perfect individualized diet plans based on metabolism, genetics, gut bacteria and absorption. There is no doubt, however; that personalized nutrition is the future.