Nutrition Types — Our Metabolism is unique

Many people follow diets in the hope of doing something good for their health, reducing body weight, getting type 2 diabetes under control or simply to increase their well-being. But often such diets do not lead to the desired success, but rather to frustration and disillusionment.

What is the explanation behind it ?

In recent years, studies have shown that there is no one right diet for all people. As different as people are, so is their metabolism. Scientists have shown that even identical meals lead to different metabolic reactions in different people [1, 2]. For example, person A’s blood sugar level can rise sharply after a meal, whereas person B’s remains almost constant. This makes it clear: the same diet can lead to the desired goal for some people, while it remains unsuccessful for others.

Why do people react differently?

For a long time it was assumed that genetic factors lead to the different metabolic reactions. But a study with twins also showed different degrees of blood glucose reactions to the identical meal [3]. The hypothesis that genetic factors are the main cause of the different metabolic reactions could thus be partially refuted. Genetic factors do have an influence, but they play a rather small role [3].

How well we can metabolise certain nutrients or foods, or how our blood sugar level behaves after a meal, depends strongly on our intestinal bacteria — the MillionFriends [1, 4, 5]. Hundreds of millions of bacteria live in our intestines and have a great influence on metabolism and our health. Studies have shown that the composition of our microbiome varies greatly — almost like a personal fingerprint — and plays a big role in how blood glucose levels behave after a meal [4].

Why is it important to keep blood glucose levels constant?

If the blood glucose level rises sharply after a meal and then falls again quickly, we feel hungry again within a short time. This makes us want to eat again more quickly and so we eat more throughout the day — often more than we actually need. If the blood sugar level remains constant, however, we are full for a longer time and eat less.

Furthermore, studies have shown that large fluctuations in blood glucose levels significantly increase the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, overweight and obesity, but also cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancer [3, 6].

Personalised nutrition — How we can use this knowledge

So our metabolic response depends on the composition of gut bacteria and blanket dietary recommendations and diets reach their limits. But how can this knowledge be used? The answer lies in a new and innovative approach: personalised nutrition. Personalised nutrition refers to dietary recommendations that are individually adapted to a person, their needs and their metabolism. For example, one person may tolerate white bread well, while another person would be advised to eat wholemeal bread or to eat white bread only in certain combinations.

The foundations that scientific study has created are applied in the personalised nutrition at MillionFriends. By monitoring the blood sugar level and other factors such as sport, sleep and the intake of medication, artificial intelligence can determine which nutrity type you belong to.

What do the NUTRI types mean?

Depending on the composition and diversity of our intestinal bacteria, the macronutrients — i.e. carbohydrates, proteins and fats — can lead to a different increase in blood sugar levels. This gives rise to the nutrity types: the protein type, the fat type and the mixed type. Depending on which of the nutrity types we belong to, our blood sugar level reacts differently to carbohydrates, proteins and fats or to a combination of all of them.

Carbohydrates are metabolised most rapidly in the body and thus cause the blood sugar level to rise most rapidly and steeply. Proteins and fats, on the other hand, are metabolised much more slowly. If you belong to the protein type, your metabolism reacts particularly well to proteins. If you combine carbohydrates with proteins, your blood sugar level will rise less or remain constant. The same applies to the fat type: in this case, the metabolism reacts particularly well to fats. So if you combine carbohydrates with fats, the blood sugar level remains stable. The mixed type reacts positively to both proteins and fats. If you are a mixed type, you can combine carbohydrates with proteins and fats to achieve stable blood glucose levels [7, 8, 9].

Which breakfast keeps you full the longest: white bread, wholemeal bread or muesli? Is it better to combine your bread with cottage cheese (protein) or butter (fat)? Does your blood sugar level rise sharply with potatoes, rice or pasta? What about chocolate and fruit? With MillionFriends, you can find out whether you are a protein, fat or mixed type and which foods are best combined to keep you full for a long time and keep your blood sugar level constant.


[1] Zeevi, D., Korem, T., Zmora, N. et al. (2015). Personalized Nutrition by Prediction of Glycemic Responses. Cell. 163(5):1079–1094. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.11.001

[2] — Asnicar, F., Berry, S.E., Valdes A.M. et al. (2021). Microbiome connections with host metabolism and habitual diet from 1,098 deeply phenotyped individuals. Nat Med. 27(2):321–332. doi: 10.1038/s41591–020–01183–8

[3] — Berry, S.E., Valdes, A.M., Drew, D.A. et al. (2020). Human postprandial responses to food and potential for precision nutrition. Nat Med. 26(6):964–973. doi: 10.1038/s41591–020–0934–0

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[6] Turati, F., Galeone, C., Augustin, L.S.A. et al. (2019). Glycemic Index, Glycemic Load and Cancer Risk: An Updated Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 11(10):2342. doi: 10.3390/nu11102342

[7] Roberts, S., Desbrown, B., Grant, G. et al. (2013). Glycemic response to carbohydrate and the effects of exercise and protein. Nutrition. 29(6):881–5. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2012.12.022

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[9] Meng, H., Matthan, N.R., Ausman, L.M. et al. (2017). Effect of macronutrients and fiber on postprandial glycemic responses and meal glycemic index and glycemic load value determinations. Am J Clin Nutr. 105(4):842–853. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.144162

[10] Voigt, R.M., Forsyth, C.B., Green,, S.J. et al. (2016). Circadian Rhythm and the Gut Microbiome. Int Rev Neurobiol. 131:193–205. doi: 10.1016/bs.irn.2016.07.002

[11] Henry, C.J., Kaur, B., Quek, R.Y.C. (2020). Chrononutrition in the management of diabetes. Nutr Diabetes. 10(1):6. doi: 10.1038/s41387–020–0109–6

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