By now you know the drill. There’s a new dieting fad that all your friends are on and it seems to be working for them. You dutifully tag along, cutting out carbs or meat or fruit like the best of them. You weigh and measure every morsel and know the guidelines of the diet better than you know some of your friends. You’re an A-plus dieter, but something doesn’t seem to be working. You aren’t losing weight even though other people on the same diet are.
A study from 2016 has possibly found the reason: your genes.
Researchers working at a lab in at Texas A&M University, fed four genetically different strains of mice different types of diets – Western, Japanese, Mediterranean and an Atkin’s-style diet high in fat and low in carbohydrate.
In trying to match the test diets to real-life diets, the researchers added certain food items to the diets of every group of mice. In the Japanese diet, rice was main carbohydrate and green tea extract was used as a component, whereas red wine extract and wheat were used in the Mediterranean diet.
The mice, who were on these diets for 6 months, could eat as much as they wanted, but researchers monitored this amount.
At the end of the study researchers found the effects of each diet were dependent on the strain of mice – and therefore on their genes.
One of the researchers, Dr William Barrington, of North Carolina State University, said: "There is an overgeneralisation of health benefits or risks tied to certain diets."
Most mice on the Western diet showed negative health effects in general – increased obesity, bad effects on cholesterol and fatty liver disease. The severity of those effects depended on the strain of mice.
Yet one strain seemed largely resistant to any negative health effects from the Western diet they were on. In another case, a strain of mice showing negative health effects eating the Western diet was able to eat the high fat-low carb ketogenic diet with no health issues.
"We also found that the causes for obesity were different," said Barrington. "Some mice on specific diets simply ate more calories, and this caused them to become obese. However, mice on other diets ate less but still became obese."
Barrington and his team believe this research underscored the need for ‘precise nutrition.’
Bottom line? There is no one diet that works for everyone, so choose something that works for you. If you’re eating a low calorie diet and you’re still struggling to lose weight, maybe it’s time to stop beating yourself up and try something else. And if you follow a diet that seems extreme (like eating heaps of bacon every day) make sure you go for general check-ups to see how your body is responding internally.