Tim Spector is Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London and honorary consultant Physician at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital. He set up the Twins UK register in 1993, the largest of its kind in the world, which he continues to direct.
Spector trained as a physician with a career in research which, since 1992, has demonstrated the genetic basis of a wide range of common diseases, previously thought to be mainly due to ageing and environment.
Tim Spector’s latest book The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat, has made news around the world. He is the man behind the British Gut Project, an international project to find the relationship between health and the bacteria inside the human body. As he and others have pointed out, healthy eating is not just about the amount of fat, sugar, salt and the number of calories consumed; it is about the bacteria in one’s gut which affect metabolism and the ability to counter disease.
Bacteria make up 90 per cent of human cells, weighing almost two kilograms. They are thought of as an extra organ, the ‘microbiome’, and small changes in it can affect the immune system, metabolism, weight, mood and may cause diseases.