We all have that friend — you know the one who eats complete junk in mass quantities but still manages to have a better body than you, even though you workout five days a week and watch what you eat. So what’s the deal? While we know that everyone’s bodies process foods and react to fitness differently, it still proves to be a challenge to find the diet that will work perfectly for you.
A study published in Cell Press shows exactly why the diet your friend lost 10 pounds on made you gain 10. The study, conducted by lead researchers Eran Segal and Eran Elinav of the Weizmann Institute of Science, tracked the blood sugar levels of 800 people over a week. They also collected other data through health questionnaires, body measurements, blood tests, glucose monitoring, stool samples, and from a mobile app which the participants used to record information about their lifestyle and tracked their food intake.
Researchers used a control factor to determine how the participants processed foods differently. They gave all the participants the same exact food and same quantity of food for breakfast everyday. Researchers then looked into in depth analysis of how the participants bodies responded to the foods.
What they found was that participants all have very different responses to the same foods depending on factors, such as age and BMI, not too surprising. However, the researchers also noticed that the way that a certain food impacted an individual person did not change.
Basically, this shows that despite individuals processing a particular food, such as scrambled eggs very differently, each individual will process eggs the same exact way every time. So, how your body processes an egg today, will be the same way it processes an egg in four months, but it will be differently than how your best friends body will process an egg.
The study also revealed that different foods affected individuals blood sugar levels differently. Overall, this shows how no matter if food is stereotypically healthy or unhealthy, it still can affect each individual in a very different way, in both how it is processed, and how it changes the blood sugar levels.
“Most dietary recommendations that one can think of are based on one of these grading systems; however, what people didn’t highlight, or maybe they didn’t fully appreciate, is that there are profound differences between individuals — in some cases, individuals have opposite response to one another, and this is really a big hole in the literature,” Segal said in a press release to Eurek Alert.
Need more proof? According to the press release, “In one case, a middle-aged woman with obesity and pre-diabetes, who had tried and failed to see results with a range of diets over her life, learned that her ‘healthy’ eating habits may have actually been contributing to the problem. Her blood sugar levels spiked after eating tomatoes, which she ate multiple times over the course of the week of the study.”
The study therefore shows that dieting and eating “healthy” may not always be the answer compared to how we are dieting, and incorporating individualized diet plans based off of carefully conducted research.
Therefore, the hope for the future of the study, or for future studies that show similar factors, is to impact the way that people approach diets.
“It’s common knowledge among dietitians and doctors that their patients respond very differently to assigned diets,” Seal said in the release. “We can see in the data that the same general recommendations are not always helping people, and my biggest hope is that we can move this boat and steer it in a different direction.”