Homogeneous Diet of Germans, Americans and Israelis Inferred from Stable Isotope Ratios

Jour Fixe talk by Elizabeth Yohannes on May 3, 2017

Elizabeth Yohannes is a former Associated Fellow of the Zukunftskolleg from the Department of Biology.

In her talk "Homogeneous diet of Germans, Americans and Israelisinferred from stable isotope ratios of hair in volunteer participants" Elizabeth presented a  study that investigated the carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios in the hair of Germans, North Americans and Israeli participants. In participants originating from Germany (including ZuKo members) and United States, the differences for both isotope ratios were less than 1‰, which indicates minor dietary heterogeneity among individuals. The carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios of the hair showed a significant correlation with the results of questionnaires on self-reported dietary habits. The carbon isotope ratios from Israel participants were higher than those from Europe and North America. These differences stem likely from the varying dietary proportions of food products originally derived from C3 and C4 plants. The dietary variation of Israel participants is comparatively small as those of Europe and USA and smaller than those of some Asian countries. These results indicate the progress of  dietary, which may indicate the influence from the spread of the identical-dietary style, dietary sources and food globalization, although dietary heterogeneity among countries is still preserved. Irrespective of geography, the globalization of food production and distribution has influence on the homogenization of human dietary patterns, but more research is required to pin point how far this has progressed.