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Personalised nutrition in the management of type II diabetes

2 December 2015

A new study by Israeli scientists has looked into the effectiveness of personalised nutrition in type II diabetes by predicting glycaemic responses in individual cases. The study used a cohort of 800 participants, spanning over one week, resulting in nearly 47,000 PPGRs (postprandial - meaning post meal - glycaemic responses) to meals. Postprandial hyperglycaemia was monitored as an indication of impaired blood glucose responses, a risk factor for the development of type II diabetes, which in turn is related to other serious metabolic syndromes.

It was found that the PPGR to identical meals given to participants showed a reproducible reaction in the individuals, but there was high interpersonal variability between different individuals consuming the same meal. Through comparing the environmental and physical variants of individuals, the study found that the proximity of meals, physical activity levels and sleep activity will impact the body’s reaction to metabolising glucose.

As a general finding, it emerged that on average there was a lower when a meal’s fat to carbohydrate ratio increased or its total fat content increased. This is supported by previous research showing that adding fat to meals can reduce the PPGR. This study further shows, however, that the effect of fat varies between individuals. Variables that can be used to predict an individual’s PPGR include the meal’s sodium content, the time elapsed since the person last slept, their cholesterol levels and age, all having a negative effect as these factors increase. If an individual has a gut flora displaying growth of Eu-bacterium rectale, it was found to be beneficial as this micro-biome ferments dietary carbohydrates and fibres and produces metabolites that lower PPGR.

The study showed that focusing on PPGRs is important in achieving glycaemic control. Dietary intervention based on the predictor showed improvements in managing blood fluctuations. The researchers hope that if a personalised nutrition plan can be followed for months or years, disorders such as type II diabetes that are related to chronically impaired glucose control can be the future of disease management and control.

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