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How Pennington researchers are finding the right diet that works for you

Pennington Biomedical Research Center's new federally funded study aims to take the guesswork out for potential dieters.
Published: Jan. 31, 2022 at 12:37 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Trying to find the right diet that works can be a hit or miss. Pennington Biomedical Research Center’s new federally funded study aims to take the guesswork out for potential dieters.

“We have this prescription of one size fits all, and yeah, we can say the dash diet is a good diet in general for the population,” said Dr. Eric Ravussin, Director of the Nutritional Obesity Research Center at Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Researchers want to collect samples of things like blood, urine, saliva, hair and measure insulin resistance, blood pressure and lipids. They not only want to see how a person loses weight, but what chronic conditions and diseases can be prevented.

“If you have hypertension or diabetes, it’s going to be two different diets,” said Ravussin. “We start to think about that, but there’s not very solid data behind that.”

Dr. Ravussin said the study will recruit 10,000 people nationwide, including 2,000 from the Baton Rouge area. Scientists will follow people eating their usual diets, and another group of participants will follow one of three prescription diets while living at home. The last group will follow the same diets during clinical site stays.

“We’re going to generate a lot of data,” said Ravussin. “We’re going to collect your physiological response to a meal, your glucose response, your stress response. An enormous amount of data is going to be processed by what we call artificial intelligence programs and we will be able to derive algorithms to prescribe a diet to you Cali, or myself.”

The study is currently in design phase only. Pennington officials said that they will begin recruiting participants at the end of the year. The four-year study will start in early 2023.

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