Eating for your unique biology | Dr Tim Spector

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In Episode #224, I sit down with Dr Tim Spector to discuss eating to optimise your specific biology.

“There’s a middle ground, an interaction between the genes and the environment that doesn’t depend on genetics.”

When we place so much focus on population-level data for health outcomes, it can be easy to lose sight of the unique biology that defines the way each person interacts with food. Dr Tim Spector joins me today to discuss how personalised nutrition may be the key to unlocking the healthiest version of ourselves.

“All of us process our food differently, [which] adds to that individuality.”

Dr Tim Spector is a medically qualified professor of epidemiology, director of the TwinsUK Registry, and co-founder of data science company ZOE. He is ranked as one of the top 100 most cited scientists, having published more than 900 research articles. His current work focuses on the microbiome and nutrition, positioning him as an expert in the field.

“We’re gaining more knowledge each week about how important the microbe processes are.”

In today’s episode, we establish what personalised nutrition is and why it is so important. We discuss research on twins, exploring nature versus nurture; the role of the microbiome in health outcomes; and whether conditions such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes are genetic. Dr Spector also offers advice on adapting your diet to your specific needs.

Specifically, we discuss:

  • Intro [0:00]
  • The Twin Study [2:33]
  • How Medicine Has Changed [7:24]
  • Obesity: Genetics & The Microbiome [13:30]
  • How much Genetics plays a role [23:36]
  • Zooming in on the Microbiome [32:36]
  • Big Picture [54:37]
  • Artificial Sweeteners [1:05:30]
  • Changing the Microbiome [1:14:58]
  • Blood Glucose [1:18:18]
  • Blood Lipids [1:26:40]
  • Vision for the Future [1:32:22]
  • Outro [1:35:45]

This episode adds important nuance to a broader conversation. As Dr Tim Spector says in this episode, individualised nutrition is another tool you can use to feel your best. It represents an important mindset shift in nutrition conversation and can help people feel more empowered in their food choices.

Nutrition science can be overwhelming, especially with so much conflicting information available. I hope you gained value from this conversation as we draw focus away from calories and towards other factors including gut microbes, nutrients, and food quality.

If you found this conversation informative, Dr Tim Spector has an abundance of resources and contact points available. To connect with Dr Spector, you can do so on Instagram and Twitter. Learn more about him and his books at Discover more about ZOE at

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Enjoy, friends.


More about Dr Tim Spector

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 the data science company ZOE Ltd which has commercialised a home kit for personalised nutrition. He also the lead researcher behind the world’s biggest citizen science health project – the ZOE Covid study of over 4 million people for which he was awarded an OBE. 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.

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