The microbiome orchestrates metabolic processes in the host through various mechanisms, including digestion of nutrients, regulation of energy harvest from diet, and production of metabolites which exert local and systemic effects on the host and activation of the immune system. This relationship is bidirectional, as intake of exogenous substances, namely food, but also food additives, antibiotics and other medications, may in turn shape and alter the microbiome.
Our lab has extensively studied the host-microbiome-diet trialogue and unravelled several of its important facets, including the contribution of artificial sweeteners on glucose intolerance, the significance of sustaining microbial diurnal rhythmicity to metabolic health and transcriptional and epigenetic programs, and the mechanisms leading to the 'yo-yo effect', accelerated weight regain after recurrent weight-loss cycles. Furthermore, we have introduced the scientific foundation to personalized nutrition, demonstrating that microbiome composition and function, along with other individual host features, dictate glycemic responses to food. Harnessing a machine-learning algorithm we were able to devise personlized menus, which maintained balanced blood glucose levels for individuals, which surpassed the standard dieting methods of calorie and carbohydrate counting.