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  • Writer's pictureJoan Rothchild Hardin

Personalized Nutrition


It turns out the very same meal can affect people’s blood glucose levels in very different ways. So the universal dietary recommendations we’re bombarded with – eat these foods and avoid those – may be sound advice for some people but maybe not for you.

Research conducted by a group of scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel suggests that individualized diets may be needed to modify blood glucose and its metabolic consequences.

The researchers note that “Elevated postprandial blood glucose levels constitute a global epidemic and a major risk factor for prediabetes and type II diabetes, but existing dietary methods for controlling them have limited efficacy. ” (Zeevi et al, 2015-A)

They found that short-term, personalized dietary interventions succeeded in reconfiguring the composition of their study subjects’ gut microbiomes and lowering post-meal glucose levels.

From the description of the video:

Doctors and nutrition specialists keep telling us what foods are good and bad for our metabolism and health. But does it work for everyone? Scientists led by Eran Segal and Eran Elinav at the Weizmann Institute of Science find that, surprisingly, everyone responds to the same foods quite different because of their unique gut bacteria makeup. Good news for some people: ice cream could be healthier than sushi!

(Zeevi et al, 2015-B)

How the study worked, in graphical form



(Source: )

Here’s an interesting and easy to read article by Dr Saleyha Ahsan, an ER doc in England who’s working with the Israeli researchers to figure out how to personalize her diet to address her health situation: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and a family history of Type 2 diabetes that makes her high risk for developing diabetes herself.

Why do people put on differing amounts of weight? (Ahsan, 2016)


Among the fascinating information Dr Ahsan imparts about what she learned while being studied by the research group at the Weizmann Institute:

“Most importantly, though, because their initial data had suggested that different individuals responded differently to foods, I teamed up with another volunteer of the same gender and age – Leila. *

“For the next week, Leila and I did and ate exactly the same things together – eating in the same restaurants and carefully weighing our food to ensure that it was as identical as possible. Textbooks said that our bodies should respond to them in a similar way. The Israeli researchers suspected that we wouldn’t. *

“A fortnight later when our results came through I could not have been more flabbergasted. Virtually all my “healthy snacks” such as grapes and sushi caused me big blood sugar spikes, as did a chicken sandwich, and cereal. On the “good” menu, though, was chocolate, ice cream and regular cola. *

“For Leila, the results were very different. Whereas pasta was “bad” for me, it was fine for her. Yoghurt was good for me, but bad for her, and our responses to bread and butter were also complete opposites. (Ashan, 2016)”


Many thanks to Kelley O’Donnell for sending me the interesting article by Dr Saleyha Ahsan.


Ahsan, S. (1/26/2016). Why do people put on differing amounts of weight? BBC News Magazine. See:

Zeevi, D. et al. (2015-A). Personalized Nutrition by Prediction of Glycemic Responses. Cell, 163:5, 1079-1094. See:

Zeevi, D. et al. (2015-B. Video – Personalized Nutrition by Prediction of Glycemic Responses. See:

© Copyright 2016. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Comments submitted prior to 8/25/2021

Interesting article. I was wondering if there is a way to determine my personalized nutrition or healthy eating habits? I thought maybe these researchers would have a website or product that would assist in this.

John Holden

In reply to John Holden


That would be handy, wouldn’t it. You could write to one of the research article’s authors and ask. Let me know if you learn anything useful. Here’s a link to an abstract of the article:

Zeevi, D. et al. (2015). Personalized Nutrition by Prediction of Glycemic Responses. Cell, 163:5, 1079-1094. See:

The names of the many authors are all listed below the title. Click on one of them & the person’s professional affiliation will appear in a box below the name. With the name & the place the person works, it should be easy then to google to find an email address.

Joan Hardin


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