Paleo? Keto? Vegan? What is the Perfect Diet for YOU?


With all the diets in the media today and a new one popping up what seems to be weekly, it can be overwhelming to decide which diet is the best and, more importantly, which is best for you. You might be eager to make changes and improve your health, but how do you know where to begin? 

Should you follow the Mediterranean diet? Paleo diet? Cut out meat entirely and be a vegetarian? Or go to straight veganism? What about the ketogenic diet? Here are 11 of the most popular diets today6:

1. Mediterranean Diet

2. DASH Diet

3. MIND Diet

4. Mayo Clinic Diet

5. Flexitarian Diet

6. WeightWatchers

7. Volumetrics Diet

8. Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet

9. TLC Diet

10. Vegan Diet

But which is the right diet for you? 

The fact of the matter is this: no universal diet works for everyone. 

Why Doesn't One Diet Work for Everyone?

You've probably seen this in action before with a friend, or maybe you've experienced it yourself. It can be disheartening to see a group of people go on a new diet with amazing results only to try it yourself and have it backfire. So, why are some diets good for some people – causing the pounds to practically fall off – while others' bodies reject the same diet?

A perfect example of this is how some people are rapidly and safely losing weight on the ketogenic diet while others are finding it to be harmful to their health. There are reports of increased LDL cholesterol levels in some people with the ketogenic diet, which is an essential marker for a greater risk of heart disease. On the other hand, some studies of the ketogenic diet in obese people found the exact opposite.1

What is going on here? How can the same diet produce such different results for different people?

No one diet is perfect for everyone because we each have a gut microbiome as unique as our fingerprint.7 It is our individual microbiomes that dictate our diet requirements. Our gut microbes play an important role in digesting everything we eat. That's right – everything you eat is affected by the microorganisms living in your gut. In turn, these microbes produce:2

  • Vitamins

  • Proteins

  • Nutrients

  • Neurotransmitters

  • Short-chain fatty acids

  • Enzymes

And much more. Because your gut microbiome is so unique, a diet that benefits you will be comprised of different foods than a diet that is ideal for someone else. 

Regardless of which diet you follow, the plan most likely includes specific foods to eat, stay away from, and enjoy in moderation. But perfect diet recommendations are unique to you and only you.

Viome's gut microbiome testing technology determines the composition of the microbes living in your gut and what they are doing or producing there, then uses this information to develop specific food recommendations for you. Here are three common but surprising dietary discoveries our customers have found to be true for them.

When Too Much Protein Causes Problems

Of the three macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat, and protein), protein has ducked most of the controversy. We generally think of protein as a healthy food group. 

But if your protein intake is too high for your body, there is a chance that your gut microbiome can't process the extra protein you are taking in. When your gut microbes digest protein, they create byproducts. If these byproducts accumulate, they can be harmful to your well-being. For example, when red meat is digested, it is turned into L-carnitine. L-carnitine transforms into compounds such as ammonia, cresol, putrescine, and trimethylamine (TMA). Trimethylamine(TMA) then metabolizes into trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), which accelerates atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries).3 

All of this activity contributes to an increased risk of heart disease and accelerated aging.

When you get your Viome test results, you'll know if you've been overdoing it with that morning protein shake or 20 oz. Tomahawk steak. You may already be on a higher protein diet like the Paleo or Mediterranean diet, but you should be eating the proper ratio of macronutrients for your body. While these diets can offer good guidelines, Viome can perfect them so you can take your health to the next level. 

Low Carb? High Carb? Science is Conflicted

You may have considered trying a low-carb diet like Atkins, keto, or the South Beach. But maybe you've heard higher-carb diets like the Mediterranean or Zone diet also work. You are left wondering, "Which should I choose"? To further complicate matters, science has been unable to give us a straight answer on which is better when studies often produce opposing results. 

One study examining a low-carbohydrate diet found that a low-carb intake produces more significant weight loss than a conventional diet in the first six months. Additionally, that same study found that a low-carb diet improved risk factors for coronary heart disease.4

A second study, however, found that people on the low-carb diet did not lose weight from fat but from lean muscle. Losing muscle mass can negatively impact your metabolism and make it harder to keep weight off. 

This isn't great news… so which route should you go?

Your body has a fantastic ability called "metabolic flexibility" that allows it to transition from burning glucose (carbs and sugars) to ketones (fat) for fuel.5 Think of your metabolism like a hybrid car. When it can transition smoothly from the battery to gas, it's running efficiently. Transitioning between these two fuel sources easily indicates this aspect of your metabolism is working optimally.

Because of this, you might not need to choose an ultra-low-carb diet for better health. So, how do you know if you need to avoid carbs? 

Your Viome test results will show you what types of carbohydrate foods your body can process and use as energy more efficiently by placing them on your Superfoods and Enjoy food lists. Viome supports your metabolic flexibility with our Glycemic Response Model that predicts which foods are least likely to cause an excessive spike in your blood glucose.

Viome also helps you get the most "bang for your buck" when it comes to carbohydrate sources by telling you which grains, fruits, and vegetables are the best (or worst) for your body and microbiome.

Oxalates: When Healthy Foods Make You Feel Like Crap

Are you always hungry? Do you struggle with feeling full? If so, you may wish to add more foods high in inulin to your diet. These foods have prebiotic fiber that helps you feel more satisfied when you eat. 

Foods that contain more inulin fiber include: 

  • Oats

  • Artichokes

  • Onions

  • Leeks 

  • White beans

  • Garlic

Most people have beneficial gut microbes that love this non-digestible fiber found in these foods. We used to think fiber was useless, but we now realize that fiber-rich foods are great for our gut microbiomes as well as our general health and longevity. 

However, there's a catch – many of these foods containing inulin also contain oxalates, which some people are sensitive to and can create other nutritional and biological issues.

Oxalates are naturally occurring compounds found in many healthy plants like spinach, leeks, oats, and beans. Oxalates have been labeled an "anti-nutrient" because they bind to minerals during the digestive process and can prevent the body from absorbing them.8 Certain plants produce oxalates for various reasons, including as a defense mechanism against animals and other "predators" eating them (humans, too).9

Currently, about 24% of Viome testers have issues with Oxalates.10

If you are sensitive to oxalates, you should avoid high-oxalate foods like green leafy vegetables, soy, and almonds. You may also want to limit moderate-oxalate foods such as oats, artichokes, and onions. Your Viome results outline this and give you targeted nutrition recommendations based on health scores that examine the activity level of gut microbial pathways needed to break down or metabolize oxalates (this is called the Oxalate Metabolism Pathways score).

In addition to contributing to nutrient deficiencies, a high oxalate load may contribute to a higher risk for kidney stones and impaired mitochondrial and immune function. 

As you can see, oxalate sensitivity isn't something to ignore.

Viome Identifies the "Diet" that is Perfect for You—Right Now

When you use Viome's revolutionary combination of RNA quantification + bioinformatics data technology and AI analysis, you'll know exactly what you should eat right now to achieve optimal health. 

We provide you with targeted nutritional recommendations so you can tailor your eating habits to boost beneficial microbes and keep them producing helpful metabolites to keep you on your path to better health.

This technology cost around $5,000 per test only a few years ago, and now it's available to you for only a fraction of that cost. 

Take a look at the Viome Full Body Intelligence test now, and take the guesswork out of which foods work best for your body.


1 Dashti HM, Mathew TC, Hussein T, Asfar SK, Behbahani A, Khoursheed MA, Al-Sayer HM, Bo-Abbas YY, Al-Zaid NS. (2004). Exp Clin Cardiol. 2004 Fall;9(3):200-5. PMID: 19641727; PMCID: PMC2716748.

2 Morowitz MJ, Carlisle EM, Alverdy JC. (2011). Surg Clin North Am. 2011 Aug;91(4):771-85, viii. doi: 10.1016/j.suc.2011.05.001. PMID: 21787967; PMCID: PMC3144392.

3 Koeth RA, Wang Z, Levison BS, Buffa JA, Org E, Sheehy BT, Britt EB, Fu X, Wu Y, Li L, Smith JD, DiDonato JA, Chen J, Li H, Wu GD, Lewis JD, Warrier M, Brown JM, Krauss RM, Tang WH, Bushman FD, Lusis AJ, Hazen SL. (2013). Nat Med. 2013 May;19(5):576-85. doi: 10.1038/nm.3145. Epub 2013 Apr 7. PMID: 23563705; PMCID: PMC3650111.

4 Gary D. Foster, Ph.D., Holly R. Wyatt, M.D., James O. Hill, Ph.D., Brian G. McGuckin, Ed.M., Carrie Brill, B.S., B. Selma Mohammed, M.D., Ph.D., Philippe O. Szapary, M.D., Daniel J. Rader, M.D., Joel S. Edman, D.Sc., and Samuel Klein, M.D. (2003). N Engl J Med. 2003; 348:2082-2090. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa022207

5 Bret H. Goodpaster, and Lauren M. Sparks. (2017). Cell Metabolism. 10.1016/j.cmet.2017.04.015

6 U.S. News and World Report 2024 Diet List. Online at

7 E. Rawls. (2024, Mar 17).

8 Spritzler, F. (Updated 2023, Oct 25). Online at

9 Eaden, L. (2023, Mar). Nutrition Connection, Colorado State University, Kendall Reagan Nutrition Center. Online at

10 As of March 22, 2024.