Food challenge test to predict your blood fat and blood sugar responses to hundreds of foods

Recently I wrote that I felt personalised nutrition is better for health than general diet advice and I said I’d return to it.

PN is the brainchild of Professor Tim Spector and he has set up the ZOE foundation which runs the largest PN science study in the world, with more than 15,000 participants. ZOE has shown that everyone responds to foods differently, even identical twins. The ZOE at-home test uses the latest technology to analyse your unique blood sugar and blood fat responses to food, as well as the “good” and “bad” bugs that live in your gut (microbiome), which play an important role in how your body responds to food.

Understanding your specific responses allows ZOE to create personalised recommendations of the best foods for you. ZOE uses a blood sugar sensor called a continuous glucose monitor, special recipe ‘food challenge’ test muffins, a finger-prick test, and a gut health test that analyses your gut microbiome.

After you eat the muffins, which contain specific amounts of carbohydrates, fat, and protein, ZOE’s powerful computers compare your test results with those of thousands of others who have eaten the same muffins and taken the same tests. This lets ZOE predict your blood fat and blood sugar responses to hundreds of other foods.

Using this unique combination of tests, ZOE can help you understand how your body reacts to food and gives you personalised recommendations of the best things to eat for your overall health and for managing health conditions like type 2 diabetes. While the overall goal of PN plans is to improve your health, many people who follow them also see weight loss, an average of 9.4lb over three months, while over 80% say they have more energy and don’t feel hungry.

Your gut microbiome impacts your long-term health and ZOE scientists have identified 15 ‘good’ and 15 ‘bad’ bugs associated with better or worse health. How many of these are in your gut is unique to you. With the ZOE programme, you find out which bugs you currently have in your gut, as well as your personalised ‘gut booster’ foods that will help your good bugs grow. Other factors – such as the time of day you eat your meals, the sequence that you eat them in, how much exercise you do, and how well you sleep – can influence your personal responses to food and how these impact your long-term health. This is the way to go in future.