The glycemic index might not be the right tool to curb diabetes and obesity levels. Following new research conducted at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, the food we eat affects our gut bacteria differently.
Thus, an inventory or norm-based list of ‘healthy’ foods such as the glycemic index may become redundant. The research team with the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel suggests that a more personalized approach to our daily nutrition is more efficient in curbing the risk of diabetes and obesity.
To reach this conclusion, the research team analyzed the blood sugar levels of participants in a one-week study. After each meal the postprandial blood glucose levels were measured for each one of the participants. Throughout the week, the researchers gathered data on 800 participants and monitored 46,900 standardized meals. The purpose was to have a better understanding as to what happens to the postprandial blood glucose after each meal and for each participant and see if and how the levels varied.
Surprisingly, the postprandial blood glucose levels differed greatly from one participant to the other albeit the meals being identical. The evident difference between the participants indicate that the food we eat affects our gut bacteria differently. Thus, instead of using a standardized list as a guideline for a universal healthy diet as a tool for curbing the risk of diabetes and obesity, personalized choices are more helpful.
The study, published in the Cell journal includes data gathered from the health questionnaires the participants had to fill out. In addition, data on glucose monitoring, blood tests, stool samples and body measurements of the participants are included. All the meals throughout the week were monitored with the help of a mobile app. Furthermore, all participants were asked to wear glucose monitors registering glucose levels each five minutes.
Overall, the research team noticed that the participants experienced the same food differently. The variability in responses was also linked to gut bacteria and how these help us metabolize a wide variety of nourishment.
For instance, some participants eating bread presented almost no uptick in the blood glucose level. Others’ blood glucose levels spiked after consuming bread. The same happened with tomatoes and other foods considered healthy and included in the glycemic index as representative for a healthy diet.
Considering these findings, a personalized nutrition plan might be the way to go. The authors of the study declared that their research was enlightening and helped shed light on the inaccuracies of a standardized perception in the detriment of real health benefits.
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