A new study kicks blanket approaches to dietary advice to the curb. Just because your tennis partner can replenish his energy with a fruit smoothie and a bagel doesn’t mean that’s going to work for you. In fact, that same meal may cause your system to crash.

According to a Weizmann Institute of Science study that appeared in the November 19, 2015, issue of Cell (2015; 163, 1079–94), and that monitored the blood sugar levels in 800 people for a week, the way our bodies respond to foods is highly individual. The study, called The Personalized Nutrition Project (www.personalnutrition.org), focused on blood sugar because elevated levels are a major risk factor for diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome. The dramatic difference researchers found in the rise of blood sugar levels among people who consumed identical meals highlights why personalized eating choices could be a significant factor in the quest for overall wellness.

In the study, scientists found that people responded very differently to both simple and complex meals. For example, in a large number of the participants blood sugar levels rose sharply after a standardized glucose meal, but in many other people, levels rose sharply after they ate white bread, but not after glucose.

Study participants were outfitted with small monitors that continuously measured their blood sugar levels. They were asked
to record everything they ate, as well as such lifestyle factors as sleep and physical activity. Overall, the researchers assessed responses to more than 46,000 meals.

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster is the editor in chief of IDEA’s award-winning publications. She is Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified and is a Rouxbe Certified Plant-Based Professional cook.

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