When it comes to both preventing and treating diabetes everyone agrees that diet is key, but viewpoints tend to differ widely when it comes to exactly what that diet should consist of. While complementary healthcare providers stress the need to consume healthy fats, organic fruits and vegetables, unrefined carbohydrates, ethically farmed meat and pure, filtered water, the conventional diabetic diet stresses low carbohydrates and reduced calories rather than focusing on clean foods.
Now, new research indicates that figuring out the best diet to prevent diabetes doesn’t just boil down to choosing between a “clean diet” and a conventional one. A study conducted by researchers from Israel and the Mayo Clinic in the U.S. and published in the journal JAMA Network Open, has found that the way a certain food affects one person is completely different to how it affects another.
Diabetes is a condition in which the body either does not produce or cannot properly utilize insulin. This affects the ability to use glucose for energy.
With type 2 diabetes – the common, lifestyle-related version of the disease – the body produces insulin, but the cells do not respond correctly to its presence. This causes a buildup of glucose in the blood, which overflows into the urine and then passes out of the body. In this way, the body loses its main source of fuel.
Diabetes also increases the risk of many other serious health problems, including foot complications, stroke, kidney disease and high blood pressure.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that close to 10 percent of the U.S. population has full-blown diabetes, while around 40 percent have prediabetes. This condition is characterized by high blood sugar levels, and if left unchecked, it can result in diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke.
Keeping blood glucose levels healthy reduces the risk of both prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, but to do this the right diet is required. (Related: Incorporating more “pulses” in your diet found to lower diabetes risk.)
As noted at the outset, doctors have tended to have a one-size-fits-all approach to diet in preventing and treating diabetes. However, the latest research stresses the need for a more individualized approach.
The research team set out to develop a model that could be used to predict how individual blood sugar levels would react to specific foods. A total of 327 diabetes-free people took part in the study, and individual factors like age, diet and physical activity levels were taken into account.
Stool samples were taken from each participant because the gut microbiome – the balance of good and bad bacteria living in each individual’s intestines – were also considered.
Medical News Today reported:
For breakfast, the volunteers ate bagels and cream cheese. The participants were then free to choose their diet for the rest of the day. The researchers asked them to record everything they ate, along with any exercise and rest periods. A blood glucose monitor also tracked blood sugar levels every 5 minutes. …
The article reports that the newly developed model accurately predicted how blood sugar responded to food 62 percent of the time.
Researchers noted that this was a significant improvement compared to the accuracy based on just carbohydrates (40 percent) or calories (32 percent).
Additionally, the team was able to see why certain foods resulted in tiredness for some people but gave others more energy.
The team concluded that a personalized predictive model which takes into consideration the specific needs of each individual, rather than just a blanket consideration of the food groups eaten, would give those hoping to avoid diabetes a better way to manage their glycemic responses to the foods they eat.
Learn more at DiabetesScienceNews.com.