Magazine article Science News

Not All Dieters Are Created Equal: People's Glucose Levels React Differently to the Same Foods

Magazine article Science News

Not All Dieters Are Created Equal: People's Glucose Levels React Differently to the Same Foods

Article excerpt

A cookie can give one person a sugar rush while barely affecting another person, a new study finds, indicating that a food's glycemic index is in the eater.

People's blood sugar rises or falls differently even when they eat the same fruit, bread, desserts, pizza and many other foods, researchers report in the Nov. 19 Cell. That suggests that diets should be tailored to individuals.

The discovery came after fitting 800 people with blood glucose monitors for a week. The people ate standard breakfasts supplied by the researchers. Although the volunteers all ate the same food, their blood glucose levels after eating varied dramatically. Factors such as body mass index, sleep, exercise, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and gut microbes are all associated with blood glucose responses to food, the researchers conclude.

Those findings indicate that blood sugar spikes after eating depend "not only on what you eat, but how your system processes that food," says Clay Marsh, an epigenetics researcher at West Virginia University in Morgantown.

Previous studies had dismissed such differences as flukes, but "we're actually quantifying it," says study coauthor Eran Elinav, an immunologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. For instance, eating bread produced a postmeal blood sugar level rise of 44 milligrams per deciliter of hemoglobin on average. But some people's blood sugar rose as little as 15 mg/dl*h, while others' spiked by as much as 79 mg/dl*h.

A team led by Elinav and Weizmann computational biologist Eran Segal created a computer algorithm that used 137 personal measurements and other factors to predict how a person's blood sugar would change after eating a certain food. …

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