Poor diet is the leading risk factor for mortality in the United States. Despite widespread awareness of the benefits of good nutrition, sustained dietary change is difficult to achieve. This is in part because we make decisions about what foods to eat on sub-daily timescales, but the benefits or consequences of these choices are often visible only in cumulative effects over timeframes that range from weeks to years.
There is a growing desire among the general public to collect and monitor personal health and wellness data. Many existing methods of diet tracking require continual manual input over the course of the day, sacrificing convenience and requiring user investment. With a simpler, more direct “tracker” of dietary habits, individuals could be readily provided personalized data on physiologic outcomes of the foods they eat.
The David Lab is partnering with the Duke Diet and Fitness Center on a human study to assess if feedback on metabolites produced by gut microbes in response to food can support short-term decision-making about diet. This study is currently enrolling. More information on this study is available here.