Researchers at a north-east university have identified gene markers which could provide early signals that bodies are not coping with diet and lifestyle choices.
The study, which was led by Dr Janice Drew, was carried out at Aberdeen University’s Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health.
Dr Drew said: “When we eat, our bodies show mild metabolic stress responses to the food. This is perfectly normal and our bodies resolve this quickly when functioning normally.
“But what we discovered is that some people exhibit atypical metabolic stress responses and, at a molecular level, this may suggest slight deviations from the healthy norm.
“If the normal responses to food are compromised, this may cause health implications over time – particularly when foods high in fat or sugar are regularly consumed.”
Researchers tested the blood of healthy volunteers who had eaten meals containing saturated and unsaturated fats and found that although none of those taking part had obvious signs of disease, their bodies did not react in the same way to the consumption of food.
“This key finding could assist in the design and testing of effective interventions better tailored for each individual,” said Dr Drew.
“Crucially, we would be able to detect whether a diet low in fat or sugar, a programme of exercise, or a combination of both is having a positive impact.
“Being able to demonstrate to someone how their metabolic health is improving to changes in their lifestyle could prove a good motivator.”