The importance of individualized diet and nutrition

The other day I was scrolling through health news headlines and came to one that caught my eye. It read: “Matching Meals to Metabolism?”

I must say, it made me laugh. Because for so many years, Americans have had it crammed down their throats that nutrition and weight loss are a cookie cutter deal. That everyone can get the nutrients they need from food. And that outdated multivitamins with meager dosages will ward off any deficiencies.

Of course, as you’re well aware by now, that’s just not true. But finally, at long last, there may be some light at the end of the mainstream’s myopic tunnel vision…

Genes predict dietary differences 

Turns out, there’s a new test in development that looks at the genetic patterns of 20 or so variants. And it can identify people who are at risk for metabolic conditions, like fatty liver disease.

This kind of testing opens the door to what researchers are calling “precision nutrition.”  Which is something I’ve been practicing for 30 years, without the need for expensive genetic testing—just a knowledge of how food interacts with the human body.

In other words, this isn’t some breakthrough concept. In fact, there’s already a plethora of science exploring the role of genetic variants in nutrition.

For example, this line of research has helped us understand why only 15 percent of infants benefit from taking DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid). And why choline absorption varies between men, younger women, and older women.

Then, of course, there’s all the research on the genetic differences that cause some people’s cholesterol to go up when they eat a high-fat diet, while other people’s cholesterol doesn’t budge.

Researchers are even discovering genetic variants that account for why some people need more vitamin D than others to achieve the same levels in their blood. (One of the many reasons why I recommend higher doses and routine monitoring.)

All of these genetic variants drive every step of your metabolism. But I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again: It isn’t all about genetics.

Environment matters, too

People are finally coming around to the idea that genetics and our environment—including the microbes that live inside us, among other factors—can change the way an individual generates and processes nutrients.

Because of these differences, two people can follow the exact same diet with completely different outcomes. (DUH—seven billion people can’t possibly have identical dietary requirements! Yet another instance where pigheaded thinking cost us decades of potential progress…)

The microbiome, in particular, is a huge factor behind how your body works and which genes turn on and off. And whether we’re talking about fat burning, metabolic rate, or even anxiety and depression, we can now trace many of these functions right back to gut microbe populations and activity.

We also have our external environment to consider. Because the hundreds of chemicals that we come into contact with every day do have an effect on our bodies—and they play a huge role in metabolic illness. (Learn more in the April 2019 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives [“Staying healthy in a polluted world: How to protect yourself against the dangerous toxins you come face-to-face with on a daily basis”]. Not yet a subscriber? Become one today!)

To me, this is and always has been simple common sense. But since modern medicine can’t issue a new recommendation that hasn’t been studied to death—and since dietary and nutritional science have always been the bastard children of the research world—it’s no wonder they’re still clinging to last century’s dogma.

The fact is, nutritional science really isn’t an exact science—and even the experts are trying to figure it all out. But that also doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from what we do know in the meantime.

The right healthcare practitioner with the right experience will always make a valuable difference in your quest for health and longevity. If you don’t already have one, the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) is a great resource for locating an experienced holistic practitioner in your area. Simply type your zip code into their search engine to find a list of physicians near you.

In the meantime, my A-List Diet is a great place to start. You’ll learn how to tailor your diet to your unique metabolic needs—one delicious meal at a time.


“Matching Meals to Metabolism.” Medscape Medical News, 07/30/20. (