Let’s Ban Calorie Counting and Reductionism” says ZOE’s Tim Spector at IFST’s Lecture exploring personalised nutrition

IFST was delighted to organise this year’s keynote lecture on the topic of personalised nutrition on 11 October. The 2022 guest speaker, Tim Spector MD FMedSci FRSB, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at Kings College London and scientific co-founder of ZOE ltd, explored the science and potential impact of foods on our gut microbiome and overall health and wellbeing. 

Tim Spector’s presentation focussed on the microbiome, a community of around 100 trillion microbes that live in our colon. This acts like a virtual organ that is key to our digestion, appetite, mood, metabolism, and control of our immune system.  It is also key to how we respond to most drugs and foods. Spector shared the results of a series of the ZOE PREDICT studies, conducted on thousands of people, which he claims demonstrated the fact that we all react differently to the same foods, even identical twins.

Among the other key messages in Spector’s presentation included that if you are carrying the parasite Blastocystis you are in a ‘super healthy group’ with lower blood pressure, lower weight and risk of heart disease, than others who don’t carry this parasite that was prevalent amongst our ancestors but is now only found in around 24% of the UK population.

Spector outlined a new way of labelling food based on a ‘probiotic score’ and that measuring calories and fat levels in foods is redundant when looking at the effects of food on an individual’s metabolism and digestion and feelings of hunger, energy and mood.

Improving your microbiome doesn’t need to be complicated. By eating thirty diverse plants each week, fermented foods and high polyphenol foods including berries, chocolate and coffee it is possible to improve the diversity of positive organisms in an individual’s gut.

Spector also expressed the need to learn more about how our body responds differently to ingredients. Concluding his lecture, Spector added, “Apps are the future… it will be like you’re working with a nutritionist in your pocket.” Referring to future apps which could be used to scan ingredients and foods in the supermarket and provide personalised recommendations for your diet.

If you would like to watch the full IFST Lecture 2022. Attend our upcoming Watch Along & Networking session on 27 October 2022. Book here.

About the speaker…

“Tim Spector is a medically qualified Professor of Epidemiology and Director of the TwinsUK Registry at King’s College London. His current work focuses on the microbiome and nutrition, and he is co-founder of ZOE, a personalised nutrition company, which runs the world’s largest nutrition study, ZOE Predict and has created a commercial at-home kit for personalised nutrition. He is also the lead researcher behind the world's biggest citizen science health project - the ZOE Health Study, formerly known as ZOE COVID Study, which provided essential data in response to the pandemic. He was awarded an OBE for this work. Having published more than 900 research articles, he is ranked in the top 100 of the world’s most cited scientists by Google. He is the author of four popular science books, including "The Diet Myth” and the most recent "Spoon Fed" which is a Sunday Times bestseller. He makes regular appearances on social and mainstream media.”

View the full photo album below: 

IFST Lecture 2022