If you’ve ever sought out a diet plan to shed some poundage, you’ve probably been pulled in numerous directions. Go Paleo. Actually no, eat 100 percent raw. Try the Mediterranean Diet. Eat like a Victorian. While we all know the general direction we should take (copious donuts won’t do the trick), a new study published in Cell underscores a much underrepresented and more important fact: Our bodies are all inimitably different from one another, and sometimes a blanket diet tip just won’t work. In other words, if you’ve been following mainstream healthy-eating advice and aren’t losing weight, you might need a “made-to-order” plan just for you.

For the study, researchers gathered a group of 800 subjects and collected information about their blood sugar levels, food intake, exercise, sleep and other self-reported health factors. They also took blood and stool samples. It was found that blood sugar was extremely diverse among the group—even after they ate the exact same meal. After consuming identical dishes, some people’s blood sugar levels became low and others, high. This indicates that people require different approaches to achieve health goals, according to the researchers.

To begin crafting a solution, the researchers used the collected data and created an algorithm. “We showed that the comprehensive profile that we measured can be used to achieve and design personally tailored diets,” they told TIME. “Our vision is to be able to derive predictions and personalized diets using a small set of inputs that people could fill out in questionnaires and a single microbiome sample...” (Microbiomes are the collection of trillions of bacteria that reside inside the human body, including the gut. According to the American Academy of Microbiology, scientists are beginning to realize that microbiomes closely affect major bodily processes, such as food digestion and vitamin synthesis.)


Hopefully a simple survey and a microbiome sample will soon be able to tell you what your diet should look like so you can see tangible results. Until then, if you’re serious about losing weight—but aren’t succeeding—you may want to consider building a relationship with a nutritionist who, as corny as it may sound, thinks you're one of a kind. Hey, not everyone looks good in culottes, and not everyone loses weight with Atkin’s.



  1. Cell: Personalized Nutrition by Prediction of Glycemic Responses
  2. TIME: Why Losing Weight Is So Hard for Some People
  3. American Academy of Microbiology