Your Metabolism Depends on Gut Microbes
By Michael Cole
New research shows some astonishing differences in how individuals vary in processing different foods. For example one person eating a certain amount of calories from bananas had a sharp rise in blood sugar levels. When they ate the exact some amount of cookies, however, their blood sugar stayed the same. Another person eating the same amount of bananas and cookies had the exact opposite effect, with a rise in blood sugar after eating cookies, but a steady level after eating bananas. Other results further demonstrated just how variable humans are in their blood sugar level responses to food, such as when sushi and ice cream were eaten by different people. Some had higher blood sugar levels after eating sushi, others ice cream.
The Importance of Blood Sugar
Blood sugar levels were the focus of this study because they are a good indicator of major risk factors for dietary diseases like diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. The shocking results that people who ate the exact same meals had radically different changes in blood sugar levels revealed for the first time that dietary health must be individualized person by person, rather than encoded in a rigid universal diet plan as it currently is.
Whether the meal was simple or complex, participants in the study continued to have widely varying changes in blood sugar. Researchers wanted to discover what factors are behind personalized responses in blood sugar levels to food. With this information, each participant could be given detailed dietary recommendations for eating healthier in a way that doesnâ€™t promote problems like diabetes or obesity. This information is incredibly important considering the epidemic threat that obesity and diabetes pose to modern humans.
Gut Microbes and Metabolism
Another aspect of the study involved looking at the gut microbes in participants and what role they played in metabolizing different foods. By monitoring factors like blood sugar level, everything eaten, sleep times, and physical activities, the researchers were able to develop a computer algorithm to predict how different participants would react to different types of food.
The analysis of the data found that researchers could successfully predict how a second phase of participants would react to certain types of food. It was also discovered that lifestyle factors such as sleep and exercise changed how one type of food was metabolized in a person on different occasions. For example, eating a piece of white bread after sleeping might cause a spike in blood sugar levels while the same person eating it after exercise sees no change.
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