Do you have friends who can east whatever they like and never appear to put on a pound? They can stick to a single wardrobe of clothes because everything always fits and they’re happy when 6pm rolls round because it’s time for their first glass of wine of the day!
A group of Israeli scientists from the Weizmann Institute in Tel Aviv have just shown what our common sense told us years ago. People’s bodies react very differently to eating the same foods. This may be why some dieters simply cannot lose weight, yet other people can eat all sorts of junk food and still stay slim. Their study is known as the Personalized Nutrition Project.
Dieticians have known for a long time that different carbohydrates were digested at different rates. The rate at which food is converted into sugar in the blood is described by it’s Glycemic Index (GI). Lower GI foods cause less of a blood sugar spike and are therefore “better” for you. High blood sugar is associated with insulin resistance which leads to weight and health problems.
The Israeli scientists noticed that there was a growing body of evidence to show that different individuals all digested foods at different rates, and these rates did not correspond to the food’s GI.
They hypothesized that if you could work out which foods a person could eat without causing a blood sugar spike, then you could devise a diet for an individual which would work.
To measure the differences in individual responses to food, the researchers gave 800 people detailed lifestyle and medical questionnaires, put them through detailed medical tests and finally gave them continuous blood glucose monitors. For a period of a week measured their blood sugar responses to the meals they ate.
The results showed some quite extreme individual differences. Some people’s blood sugar levels spiked after eating ice cream (as you would expect) yet others showed absolutely no reaction. The same individual differences in results were seen with all sorts of foods, from the usual pasta, bread and butter, through tomatoes, cookies and bananas.
Clearly the same diet will not have the same results for everyone. Professor Eran Segal who led the study says, ‘If a diet didn’t work for you, it may not be your fault, just that you were on the wrong one.’
Dr Eran Elinav, who co-authored the study also says ‘Clinicians believe diets fail because people don’t follow instructions properly. But now it seems likely the problem is many people have been getting dieting advice that was wrong for them.’
So is there a right diet for everyone?
The researchers used the mass of information generated by the study to develop an algorithm which would predict what someone’s “good” foods would be and what their “bad” foods were.
They tested their algorithm with a different set of 100 people who were monitored with glucose meters for a week. After getting the baseline information, the algorithm was used to setup a weeks worth of “good” diet (which for some included chocolate, alcohol and ice cream) and a weeks worth of “bad” diet.
As predicted, the researchers found that during the “good” diet week, people did have more stable blood sugar, but in the bad diet week they had the fluctuating blood sugar levels associated with weight gain.
This short video gives more details about the Personalized Nutrition Project and their conclusions.
So it seems that weight management is a very individual thing. Not all of what we think of as unhealthy food is bad for you, and the healthy food which one person enjoys might cause weight gain in another individual.
At Weigh To Diet, (http://weightodiet.com) we bring you the latest dieting research and thinking to help you on your weight loss journey. We sort the fact from the fiction and find the top weight loss plans to help you achieve the figure you desire.