comparing twins”, does the new docu-series have a scientific basis? – WWN

comparing twins”, does the new docu-series have a scientific basis? – WWN


Of Andrea Ghiselli

To evaluate the impact of the two different dietary approaches, vegan and omnivorous, 22 pairs of homozygous twins were selected

I read about the new documentary series on Netflix regarding vegan and omnivorous nutrition: «You are what you eat: twins compared». Is it scientifically based?

He replies Andrea Ghisellidirector of the first level Master in Food Science and Applied Dietetics, Unitelma Sapienza (GO TO THE FORUM)

The series you are referring to is the television adaptation of a very well designed study conducted by Stanford University and recently published in the prestigious magazine Jama. To evaluate the impact of two different dietary approaches, vegan and omnivore, were selected 22 pairs of identical twins where each twin was the control of the other. One was placed on an omnivorous diet for 8 weeks and the other twin on a vegan diet. So not only were the couples the same age, gender, sociocultural background, but they were also metabolically identical. At the beginning, middle and end of treatment, some metabolic parameters such as weight and fasting insulin were measured.

Mediterranean diet

The results highlighted that the vegan diets result in slightly greater weight loss, lower cholesterol levels linked to LDL, fasting insulin and therefore overall better metabolic health. Now, however, beyond the experiment, it is not necessary to follow a vegan diet to improve metabolic parameters: the same results can be achieved with there Mediterranean diet
as long as we know what we’re talking about: vast amount of plant-derived calories and a small amount of animal products, so low as to contribute to the health and completeness of the nutritional picture, but not so high as to increase the risks. So a diet much closer to vegan than to the classic Western model rich in saturated fatty acids, free sugars, salt and alcohol which characterizes the Western omnivorous model. The Mediterranean diet in fact combines the advantages of both food sources, plant and animalwithout bringing with it the disadvantages that both sources have.

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January 20, 2024 (modified January 20, 2024 | 12:28)



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