Why di­et­ing doesn’t work

Steer clear of di­ets that have a one-size-fits-all ap­proach, as they may not ben­e­fit you. A new study has found vast dif­fer­ences in peo­ple’s re­sponse to iden­ti­cal meals

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Variety -

Ahealthy food for one per­son may lead an­other to gain weight, ac­cord­ing to a study out Thurs­day that sug­gests a one-size-fits-all ap­proach to di­et­ing is fun­da­men­tally wrong. For in­stance, one woman in the study re­peat­edly ex­pe­ri­enced a spike in blood sugar af­ter eat­ing toma­toes, which would gen­er­ally be con­sid­ered a low-fat, nu­tri­tious food.

The find­ings are based a study of 800 peo­ple in Is­rael, and are pub­lished in the jour­nal Cell Press.

“The first very big sur­prise and strik­ing find­ing that we had was the very vast vari­abil­ity we saw in peo­ple’s re­sponse to iden­ti­cal meals,” said re­searcher Eran Se­gal of the Weiz­mann In­sti­tute of Science in Is­rael.

Par­tic­i­pants wore blood sugar mon­i­tors that took mea­sure­ments ev­ery five min­utes for an en­tire week.

Re­searchers were stunned to see the dif­fer­ence in peo­ple’s meta­bolic re­sponses to the ex­act same foods.

For in­stance, some peo­ple’s blood sugar rose higher af­ter eat­ing sushi than it did af­ter eat­ing ice cream.

And for one mid­dle-aged woman, the act of eat­ing toma­toes — which she thought were part of a healthy diet — ac­tu­ally caused her blood sugar to rise sig­nif­i­cantly.

“There are pro­found dif­fer­ences be­tween in­di­vid­u­als — in some cases, in­di­vid­u­als have op­po­site re­sponses to one an­other — and this is really a big hole in the lit­er­a­ture,” said Se­gal.

High blood sugar is dan­ger­ous be­cause it can lead to diabetes, obe­sity, heart prob­lems and other com­pli­ca­tions, in­clud­ing eye, kid­ney and nerve dis­ease.

Many di­ets aim to keep blood sugar low by in­cor­po­rat­ing fruits, veg­eta­bles and com­plex car­bo­hy­drates like brown rice and whole grains, while avoid­ing re­fined sug­ars and goods made with white flour. But those rec­om­men­da­tions don’t work for ev­ery­one, and of­ten, over­weight peo­ple are blamed for eat­ing too much or not stick­ing to a healthy life­style.

Co-au­thor Eran Eli­nav said the study “really en­light­ened us on how in­ac­cu­rate we all were about one of the most ba­sic con­cepts of our ex­is­tence, which is what we eat and how we in­te­grate nu­tri­tion into our daily life.”

In­stead of urg­ing peo­ple to eat low-fat di­ets, a more per­son­alised ap­proach — one that puts an in­di­vid­ual at the cen­ter of the plan, rather than the diet — could be use­ful to help peo­ple con­trol high blood sugar and im­prove their health, he said.

The re­searchers also used their find­ings to forge an al­go­rithm that could pre­dict how dif­fer­ent peo­ple would re­act to cer­tain foods, based on a host of per­sonal char­ac­ter­is­tics and their gut.

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