A recent study by scientists in Israel suggests that foods such as ice cream that are considered unhealthy may be better than so-called “healthy” foods for some people.
The human gut has trillions of bacteria that affect the way food is digested and processed. Variations in the types and numbers of bacteria can cause the same foods to be processed differently by different individuals’ bodies.
Scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel studied a group of 800 people. They collected data on their eating habits, health, sleep, exercise, other habits, and blood sugar over a period of one week.
The researchers found that after eating identical foods, people’s bodies did not respond in identical ways. They found that some people’s blood sugar rose more after eating sushi than ice cream, even though sushi is considered healthier.
The scientists focused their research on blood sugar because high levels can lead to diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. They found huge differences between individuals in some cases. The researchers used an algorithm to predict how gut bacteria would react to the foods people ate and how that would impact their blood sugar levels.
The scientists said their findings suggest that dietary advice should not be the same for everyone. They believe their research could be used to develop personalized diets based on the ways individuals’ bodies respond to food, rather than giving generic advice such as limiting sugar intake and eating more fruits and vegetables. They think this could be helpful to people with diabetes who struggle to control their blood sugar.