Personalized nutrition and the importance of measuring blood glucose

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What you will learn

  • The problems that come with a “one-size-fits-all” diet approach.
  • Why monitoring your blood glucose levels is important.
  • How poor nutrition choices can lead to the development of chronic diseases.

Why a considerable number of adults still have undiagnosed high blood glucose levels even when considered metabolically healthy.

Help! What should I eat?

Eggs or no eggs? Fat or no fat? Is sugar really that bad for you? Does red meat cause cancer? Few things have been the subject of so much controversy as the science of nutrition. As a result, people are finding grocery shopping a rather stressful affair- and who would blame them? Research[1] has shown that 80% find nutritional information unhelpful and contradictory. 60% say that conflicting information makes them doubt their choices.

There is a wealth of information out there, and it’s confusing. Let’s be honest: when it comes to what we should eat, most of us want the experts to agree on one silver-bullet diet that works for all.

But what if we’re looking at it all wrong?

The problem with the one-size-fits-all approach

Throughout the past century, nutrition experts gave advice based on the distribution of carbs, fats, and protein throughout the day. This recommendation was a simplified version of the “one size fits most” approach, and it didn’t yield great results. Thankfully science evolves, and so does nutrition research and technology. Experts quickly realized that the key to health is a more individual approach.

Nutrition advice stems from the idea that our diet impacts our health. This statement is neither new nor obscure. What is new, however, is the realization that we all react differently to certain foods. The reason lies in our DNA.

But first, let’s revisit the link between diet and health.

How our diet influences our health

Everybody knows that a poor lifestyle can lead to the development of chronic diseases. One of them is the so-called “metabolic syndrome,” with high blood glucose levels being one of its best-known risk factors. It is also the most widely researched. We usually only hear about it in the context of diabetes. What a shame, as it is hugely important for our overall health.

Used by our body for energy, blood glucose[2] ebbs and constantly flows according to what we eat. It doesn’t remain high in a healthy individual for an extended period at any moment. But did you know that a mere 12%[3] of American adults are metabolically healthy, with high blood sugar being pervasive and often undiagnosed?

The good news is, blood sugar is directly impacted by –you guessed it-your diet. You probably think, “Wow, this sounds amazing! But I don’t see myself going to the lab to get blood drawn every time I eat to check my blood sugar levels. So how is this information useful”?

Here’s an even better piece of news. Blood sugar can be measured in real-time at home, using bio-wearables called glucose monitoring sensors. That means you can see the effect the food you’re eating has on your blood glucose levels at any given time. 

“Surely there’s a table summarizing blood glucose response after food, so there’s no need for me to measure it?” you say. Let us tell you such a table exists, but research shows that it isn’t beneficial. Here’s why.

Why our genes should influence our dietary choices

Even though we are all human, each of us –even identical twins- has a unique DNA pattern. This uniqueness is evident in our genes, our gut bacteria, and our biochemical processes. Since we are all different, shouldn’t our diet also be designed to support our own unique bodies?

The answer is yes. It’s simple: Nutrition can and should be personalized because each individual reacts differently to different foods. And research is here to prove it.

Six years ago, a research group from the Weizmann Institute aimed to understand how and why post-meal blood glucose responses vary from person to person. The ground-breaking results of this study caused a media frenzy. In one stroke, the researchers involved made all universal diet programs obsolete.

They proved that individuals react differently to the same foods, so a food that might be healthy for one person is unhealthy for another.

Their subsequent book “The Personalized Diet” helps readers understand the science behind it. It provides a toolkit to create an individualized diet and lifestyle plan. As anticipated, it helps the reader lose weight, feel good, and prevent diseases by eating in the best way for them.

Another study found that healthy volunteers experiencing a downfall in glucose response after eating felt hungrier and consumed more calories during the day. This concludes that blood glucose dips are a predictor of hunger and subsequent calorie intake. Our aim is to empower you with the information and tools you need to make the best decisions for your body.  So we will keep an eye on the latest research and keep you updated. Together we’ll learn how to time and combine foods to make them work for your body so you won’t feel hungrier after your meal.

Conclusion

Maintaining blood glucose levels is the key to a healthier you. You can achieve it through lifestyle changes and the use of technology, which can help you make more informed decisions. Read more about how to maintain your blood glucose levels.

Would you wear a pair of trousers that are too short or too tight, just because everyone else does? Probably not. Your body also deserves to get its energy from tailor-made meals that are right for you. What do you think? Has this sparked your interest? Feel free to sign up at HELLO INSIDE to start crafting your own diet with the help of continuous glucose monitors and our HI mobile app.     

 


[1] International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation’s 2018 Food and Health Survey

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK560599/

[3] Prevalence of Optimal Metabolic Health in American Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009–2016