This means that while the latest 'hotly talked about' diet might help some people shed weight, it may well be useless for others.
Health experts also suggest that official weight loss advice may not help as many people as hoped. There seems to be too much generalization of health benefits or risks associated with certain diets.
However, a fascinating study carried out at the Texas A&M University showed that the impact of a diet is dependent on the genetic profile of an individual. This means that different people will have their own optimal diets.
During the study, scientists at the A&M University fed mice on one of five different diets for six months. The diets included:
- A typical Western diet
- A Mediterranean diet
- A traditional Japanese diet
- A high-fat, low-carbohydrate Atkins-style diet
- Normal mouse food
But importantly, four different strains of mice were used in order to mimic the genetic differences in people with different genes.
All the mice were allowed to eat as much as they wanted, and their meals were made as realistic as possible. For instance, rice and green tea extract was part of the Japanese diet, and the Mediterranean diet included red wine extract.
Results showed that the health of the mice after six months varied widely. Some strains fared better on some foods than others. For instance, while a sugar-rich Western diet fuelled obesity, the severity of weight gain depended on the strain of the mouse. Indeed, one particular strain was practically immune to the 'bad' diet. Some mice were actually healthier on the Western diet than on the Atkins-style diet. That is welcome news.
It is highly likely that the diversity of diet response seen in this fascinating study also occurs in humans. For over a century we have assumed that there is only one optimum diet. That seems not to be the case if we can extrapolate the effects of diet on mice to humans. Both species are mammals anyway.
Perhaps one day it may be possible to identify the best diet for any individual simply by giving him or her a genetic test. For now, the results of this study should not be used as an excuse not to diet. Simply persevere, and if one diet fails, try another one.
Be open to changing one's diet if the desired results are not forthcoming, and do not listen to people telling you that 'such-and-such' a diet is good for you because it worked for them.
So yes, it looks like the real secret to successful weight loss is to find what works for you.
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George also writes a blog on health, fat loss, food, and dieting. Visit it here at George Blay's Blog
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