In the article, C&EN Assistant Editor Carmen Drahl explains that not all people respond to diet in the same way: What makes some people healthy may in fact make others worse. Metabolomics, an emerging field whose practitioners study how foods affect metabolism, may provide new tools and data for customizing todays one-size-fits-all dietary guidelines for an individuals own body, the article notes. For example, a routine blood test that measures hundreds of compounds or more could detect shifts in a persons metabolic balance to predict future health problems. Physicians then could develop a customized diet designed to work with that patients metabolism, while follow-up blood tests could allow caregivers to track improvements in a persons health status, the article notes.
But the field is not quite ready for prime time. Academic and industry researchers alike are hard-at-work deciphering the complex science of how foods affect metabolism with the goal of building up a framework in which sound guidance for specifying personalized diet would become possible.
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