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Genes Only Part of the Diet Story

Identical twins sometimes respond differently to eating the same food, New Scientist reports.

Kings College, London's Tim Spector and his colleagues found that only about 50 percent of how people respond to glucose and 20 percent of how they respond to dietary fat is genetic, New Scientist adds. It notes that some people respond to certain meals with a sharp and lasting rise in blood sugar and insulin levels — which is linked to weight gain and type 2 diabetes — while others experience a rise in circulating fat — which is linked to cardiovascular disease. This response differed even among identical twins, New Scientist notes. It adds that the researchers presented this work at the American Diabetes Association conference.

One possible explanation, New Scientist says, it that the gut microbiome may influence how people process different foods, as identical twins only share about 35 percent of their gut flora. It adds that the researchers hope to develop an app to guide people to what meals might be the healthiest for them.