FOOD CAN AFFECT INDIVIDUALS VERY DIFFERENTLY. Matthew Ainslie called attention on Facebook to this article on the Meta science news site about “a stunning paper providing startling new insight into the personal nature of nutrition.” The paper, by Eran Elinav and Eran Segal, describes a study which found that: “there exists a high degree of variability in the responses of different individuals to identical meals….”

The study traced the glycemic reactions to identical meals of some 800 subjects (rather a large number as studies go). The examples of different individual responses are striking: “…the researchers showed an example where two participants had opposite responses to cookies and bananas.Participant A maintained a stable blood glucose level after eating a cookie but responded with elevated glucose levels after eating a banana. Conversely, participant B experienced an increase in blood glucose level after eating a cookie, but not after consuming a banana.” Another striking example is that of an obese woman for whom eating tomatoes “resulted in an ‘unhealthy’ blood sugar spike”.

You can see that if there is great individual variation in the effect of different foods on individuals, the formulation of diet guidelines becomes more difficult. These findings may cast some light on why government diet recommendations on a one size fits all basis seem to change so frequently.

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