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The Vanguard

Lebanon Trail High School News

The Vanguard

Lebanon Trail High School News

The Vanguard

You Are What You Eat: A Study

Zeynep Gül Ceylan

A Netflix original documentary: ‘You Are What You Eat’ delves into the study of how different diets affect different people and which one provides the most benefits overall. There were 22 pairs of identical twins who participated in this study, yet only four were featured in the documentary. Each of them followed a specific diet: plant-based vegan diet or an omnivorous diet. 


For the first four weeks, the researchers sent each participant the food to their homes so they are aware of everything the twins are consuming everyday. The last four weeks, the twins will be able to eat whatever they want; and the scientists won’t really be able to keep tabs on them through this part of their journey. 


“The study is unique because no one has really attempted this before: to see whether we can really change people’s underlying biochemistry in just eight weeks, and the twin model is the perfect way to do it,” Tim Spector, a professor in twins research, said.  


In the study before the twins began their diets, they each had to go through a DEXA scan which measures body fat, muscle mass, and where it’s distributed. They also underwent three other tests, with the purpose of each one to get to know their biological clock, microbiome, and brain. 


In the first four weeks the scientists kept track of what each participant ate and the twins kept logs of what they ate everyday.


“Our study used a generalizable diet that is accessible to anyone, because 21 out of the 22 vegans followed through with the diet,” Christopher Gardner, who is a professor in the Stanford Prevention Research Center said to Stanford Medicine News. “This suggests that anyone who chooses a vegan diet can improve their long-term health in two months, with the most change seen in the first month.”


Towards the end, the participants who stuck to a vegan diet during the study noticed a decrease in insulin, body weight, and lipoprotein cholesterol levels. The Stanford Medicine News also reports that the most important steps people can take to improve cardiovascular health, according to Christopher Gardener, are to increase dietary fiber and cutting back on saturated fats.


After the experiment was over and the eight weeks had passed, reporters caught up with the eight participants featured in the documentary to check in on whether or not they decided to continue or begin their plant-based diets. Many, if not almost all of them, had become more conscious of their dietary intake, started eating less meat, or even completely switched to a plant-based diet.


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About the Contributor
Poorvi Deshpande, Staff Reporter
Poorvi, a sophomore, likes to read fantasy books in her free time and a favorite of hers is Harry Potter. She has always enjoyed writing and she joined the Vanguard Newspaper so she could learn to improve her writing skills and grow as a journalist. Poorvi prefers to write news articles over editorials because she likes to hear other people’s points of view and their experiences. In the future, she would like to do something combining her interests in psychology and journalism, perhaps writing research papers on mental illnesses or new psychology studies.  Contact Info - [email protected]

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