When it comes to nutrition, personalization is key—there is no one-size-fits-all solution for a healthy lifestyle. Everybody is unique, especially when it comes to the microbiome (a kind of ecosystem that contains the bacteria, fungi, and viruses that exist in the stomach). But recently, scientists have discovered how gut bacteria play a role in personalized nutrition, as The New York Times reports.
The study, published in The International Journal of Obesity, suggests that the bacteria specific to your gut could affect how well a diet works for you. Danish researchers looked at two different kinds of gut bacteria (prevotella and bacteroids) in a sample of overweight people. Participants were randomly assigned either a new Nordic diet, which is high in fiber and whole grains, or an average Danish diet, which is heavier in meat and contains fewer fruits and vegetables.
The study found that, of those placed on the new Nordic diet, individuals with a high provotella-to-bacteroids ratio "appeared more susceptible to lose body fat" than those with a low provotella-to-bacteroids ratio. This suggests that the bacteria in your stomach could determine whether or not certain diets work better for you than others.
This is a significant finding because, according to researcher Bo Hjorth Bentzen, PhD, of the University of Copenhagen, previous studies of the microbiome have not yielded practical results until now. "This finding is something that could really be used," he said. While there's still no easy way to quickly figure out which bacteria live in your microbiome in order to customize your diet, it's worth mentioning that the diet high in fiber and whole grains yielded better results than the average Danish diet—those on the new Nordic diet lost an average of 6.9 more pounds than those on the average Danish diet.