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Research Raises Questions About Nutrition Guidance
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Research Raises Questions About Nutrition Guidance

Good health advocates and government regulators have made it their business to give UK consumers nutrition guidance. The same is true throughout most of Europe and North America. But new research now raises questions about some of that guidance. Of particular concern is the 'one size fits all' approach most nutrition advice follows.

Think of all the nutrition guidance you've been exposed to during your lifetime. Has it led you to believe that if you just follow a particular formula you'll be able to maintain a healthy weight and avoid disease? That's the thinking. But it may not be true in all cases.

It might be that all of that nutrition guidance really constitutes nothing more than generalities. It might be that our sports nutrition products are greatly beneficial to some people but only marginally helpful to others. If the research is to be believed, it would appear as though people need individualised diets that account for their body's own unique tendencies.

Research with Twins

If you were going to test how sports nutrition products affected human health, would you enlist randomly selected participants for your study? That's generally how it goes. But researchers from King's College London took a different route. Instead, they tracked 1,000 adults from the UK and the US – including 240 sets of twins.

During that time they monitored a range of different indicators including insulin levels, blood sugar, sleep, and exercise, all in relation to the foods the participants were eating. They discovered some remarkable things. For example, a food that might have initiated a spike in blood sugar for one person did not have the same effect on another. More importantly, the twins' results were not statistically different from the rest of the participants.

What that means is that even the twins demonstrated different dietary responses between them. One twin may have demonstrated elevated fat levels after eating a particular food while the other twin did not. This is remarkable given the fact that twins have either identical or very similar DNA.

One Size Doesn't Fit All

If it can be demonstrated that two identical twins do not have identical dietary needs, we will have to rethink our nutritional guidelines. We will have to face the fact that one size doesn't fit all. And by the way, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

As experts in sport nutrition products, we already know that every item we sell isn't necessarily the best choice for every customer who buys from one of our vending machines. It's just the way life is. There are no absolutes in terms of the way human bodies react to their environment, diet, and so on.

The results of the King's College London research definitely suggest further study is warranted. And maybe it's time for us to step back and think about nutrition guidance. Maybe it's time to set aside the one-size-fits-all approach and replace it with the idea of developing individualised diets for each person.


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