Have you ever been in this situation? Your friend tells you a new diet or eating plan has worked wonders for them. They look great, say they have amazing energy, and urge you to try it. You trust your friend, so you decide to follow their lead — only to struggle or see no real results.
Science may have just figured out why this happens, and no, it’s not because you have less willpower.
A new study out of Texas A&M University shows that our genetics may play a big part in why certain diets (such as a Paleo diet, low-fat diet, or even something like Weight Watchers), work for some and not others.
To study this, researchers put four different groups of mice on four different diets (interestingly enough, mice are “surprisingly genetically similar” to people), and allowed them to eat as much or as little as they wanted over a period of time. While monitoring their health during and after the experiment, researchers found that “effects of the diets were tremendously variable depending on the genetics of the individual.”
For instance, one group of mice were put on a traditionally Western (read: unhealthy) diet, and even though the diet — which was high in carbs and fats — generally did damage to the health of every mouse on it, the severity of the damage varied due to the genetics of difference mice. There were similar findings with mice who were put on a low-carb diet. Some of the mice seemed perfectly healthy on the diet, while others grew obese and showed signs of rapid health decline.
Other genetics researchers tapped to comment on the study agreed that even though there’s a bit of difference between mice and humans, “similar studies done in both animals and people” have produced comparable results.
This study is just another reminder that restrictive eating, comparing yourself to others, or trying to apply a specific diet just because it’s a fad (while it makes you miserable) is not the way towards true health enlightenment. Honoring yourself as an individual is the only way to make wellness strides that last a lifetime!