Specifically, our blood sugar responses differ.
And elevated blood sugar leads to all kinds of health issues, including obesity.
A New Scientific Understanding about Obesity
Like most people who have struggled with being overweight for most of their lives, I’ve suspected for decades that our response to food is individualized.
Because I’ve spent those decades watching my effortlessly-slim sister scarf down all the food she wants.
If I ate like she does, I’d be obese.
I know. Because I used to be.
But now, we have scientific proof to back up what most overweight people have always known…
Breaking News: Maybe Overweight People Haven’t Been Secretly Binging & Lying About It All This Time
Researcher Eran Segal commented in Forbes, “After seeing this data, I think about the possibility that maybe we’re really conceptually wrong in our thinking about the obesity and diabetes epidemic. The intuition of people is that we know how to treat these conditions, and it’s just that people are not listening and are eating out of control—but maybe people are actually compliant but in many cases we were giving them wrong advice.”
It’s all About Blood Sugar
Our blood sugar levels vary throughout the day and are primarily influenced by the food we eat. But stress, our gut microbiome, our age, our Body Mass Index and how recently we last ate or exercised also play a role.
Not surprisingly, stress is bad and can raise blood sugar levels. And exercise is good. The gut microbiome can go either way.
But mostly, blood sugar is related to food.
Here’s a video describing the findings from this paradigm-altering research:
Customized Food Improves the Microbiome
Researchers tested fecal matter from participants on a daily basis and detected significant changes to the microbiome following dietary interventions.
Food that was designed to be beneficial for a particular person not only reduced their blood sugar, but also resulted in more advantageous microbes in their gut, including those that are correlated with slimness.
Food that the algorithm determined was harmful, both increased blood sugar and resulted in an increase of microbes associated with obesity, even over a relatively short period of time.
N=1: Individualized Experiments Designed for One
Those of us who consider ourselves members of n=1 nation are already experimenting with personalized approaches, because we know it is the most effective way to find health and well-being.
But this is the first large-scale scientifically validated study to prove that universal nutritional recommendations (like those found in the Canada Food Guide) are archaic.
Ed Yong quotes Segal in the Atlantic: “Many of the diets created by the algorithm were deeply unorthodox. ‘It wasn’t just salad every day,’ says Segal. ‘Some people got alcohol, chocolate, and ice-cream, in moderation. These are items that you’d typically never find on a dietician’s recommendations.’ Some plans were so counter-intuitive that neither dieticians nor volunteers could tell whether they were meant to represent the good diet or the bad one. And yet, they effectively controlled blood-sugar levels for those particular volunteers.”
All this and the research is elegant.
If you love research, you should really make yourself a nice cup of tea and and settle in to a cozy armchair with the extended version of the report just to marvel at the design.