A complex, varying pattern emerged from a large study.
Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
January/February Volume 27, Number 1
We all know that dietary patterns vary widely from person to person. It now appears that the body’s physiologic response to food intake (even to exactly the same food intake) varies widely from person to person.
In a large study in Israel, Dr. David Zeevi and colleagues recently examined individualized responses to food intake (Cell. 2015.163:1079). The main cohort included 800 participants who consumed around 47,000 standardized meals throughout the study. During the weeklong observation, every patient had continuous glucose monitoring (a technological method of measuring blood glucose levels during daily activities). In addition, the researchers administered a wide variety of questionnaires, measured body mass index, glycosylated hemoglobin and lipid levels, and monitored daily food and activity. They also measured individual participants’ gut microbiome.
Wide swings were noted in postprandial blood glucose levels
The researchers showed that despite standardized meal intake, there was wide variation in changes of blood glucose levels after each meal. Using the profiling measures that were completed, a statistical algorithm model was developed to predict glucose response to a given meal. The ability of this algorithm to predict blood glucose levels was tested in a subsample of 100 additional participants, and the prediction model worked well. The same prediction model was used to develop personalized dietary prescriptions in an attempt to minimize blood glucose changes in a small, blinded, and randomized sample. This personalized intervention diminished blood glucose changes, and also modified the gut microbiome.
As for providing a method for clinical intervention for people with eating disorders or obesity, using this approach to making dietary recommendations is still a ways off. On the other hand, the results clearly show the complex and individual nature of responses to food intake.