Personalized Diet

One current interesting area of nutritional research is the idea of personalized dietary advice. It seems that Dr Segal at the Weizmann institute have found that we do not all react in the same way or to the same degree to various foods. For example some people can eat ice cream and get outrageous blood sugar spikes whilst others only modest increases. It made me realise that I was perhaps making assumptions about how I respond to various foods that I have adopted in the belief that they are healthy choices. Maybe on the whole I eat well but perhaps there are some weak links in there dictated by my own personal metabolism.
To try an answer this question I have started a series of tests. I am trying a variety of food substances for breakfast and then testing my blood glucose level. I know that my fasting levels is around 80 and that a couple of years ago I tested my levels on a breakfast of 6 bananas and it came in at 92, but I do not know what effect my standard breakfast or indeed other possible foods that I eat during the day have on my blood glucose. For example I do not eat bread but I do eat rice.
I controlled to some degree the experiment by always eating the same evening meal at the same time the night before.
On the first test day I ate 2 slices of white toasted bread with butter. The blood sugar reading after 1.5 hours came in at a surprisingly high 100. Given that some people eat around 6 slices if they have sandwiches for lunch, I feel justified in removing bread.
On the second test day I had a bowl of white rice, about the amount you get with your curry in an indian restaurant. The blood sugar reading came in at 82. Seems to add sense to why the Japanese and Chinese have low levels of heart disease.
On the third test day I had my customary breakfast of-
Porridge oats with Kiwi,Blueberries,Turmeric and Flaxseed
One pink grapefruit
5 Walnut halves
Cup of Hibiscus tea
I have to admit I was hoping that this would come in at around 90 to 95 but I am afraid it hit 113. Not a particularly high post meal reading but if you want to try and start the day below 100 then this clearly is not going to do it. My next test day might provide a viable alternative. Eggs,tomatoes,mushrooms,spinach,avocado and coconut oil

Update –
Today took another unexpected twist. Deciding to drill down into the 113 I got for oats plus fruit on the last test before going onto perhaps a high fat breakfast I today tested oats with just the usual almond milk (flaxseed as well to be honest). I was hoping for around 85 in which case fruit is certainly the main culprit behind the previous 113. However I came in today at 99 way over the previous rice only of 82. It would seem I have been seduced by the 3g per 100g of sugar on the label of the almond milk, sounds low but hey the final numbers dont lie. Cows milk does not seem to be an alternative as google tells me it has 5g per 100g. I need to be absolutely sure about all this so the next test will have to be oats made with water but given the oats with almond milk still tasted reasonably sweet today, when I expected it to be bland, I have to presume at this stage that its the milk.

Update –
Bit of a disappointment today, my previous blood test came in at 99 for oats and almond milk only and I thought that this may be due to the almond milk. Today I tested oats with water only and was kind of expecting around 85 to 90 but got a 101. Clearly the oats are making a fair contribution unlike white rice which previously came in at 82. I am away for a couple of weeks but will resume on return when I will test egg,onions,mushrooms and tomato breakfast. I will also test the high fiber bread only option as someone asked me to do that. At the moment coming in under 100 may be the sole domain of the egg breakfast as I cannot see me eating rice for breakfast, we will see.

Update – Today I tested a breakfast of two egg omelette with mushrooms, onions and two fried tomatoes, all frying was done in Coconut oil. My usual chemist was closed so I had to use an alternative which used a simpler blood sugar tester, the type you use at home. The sugar reading came in at low 73. Even allowing for the machine this suggests that this breakfast is a very low blood sugar option and could herald a breakfast changing moment.

Update – Today I tested two slices of buttered toast but this time using higher fibre bread. The fibre content was 18g per 100g. The readings came in at 85 which is much improved on the lower fibre bread tested earlier

Update – Low sugar baked beans on single slice of whole meal bread comes in at 95, excellent as I love beans on toast.

Update – Steel cut oats came in at a whopping 129 using a home monitor. Porridge has to go

3 thoughts on “Personalized Diet

  1. Hi Mark, that’s very interesting and I wonder if you’d get the same readings with the omelette with the original tester. A couple of other things, I’d be curious about. Firstly, most people drink (either tea or coffee) with breakfast so what effect does this have. Would a small amount of milk in tea spike blood sugar if drunk with food? With coffee I tend to have a tiny amount of 10% cream which has fewer carbs than milk.

    For those of us who can’t face eggs every day (or the chore of cooking first thing in the morning) the other type of breakfast that some people are using is a protein shake. This often includes some frozen berries in addition to the whey/protein powder but could also include some flax/fibre. As long as you use water instead of almond milk perhaps this would be an alternative.

    1. The oats were tested made with water so I suspect the almond milk is not a huge factor. Blending a smoothie is certainly an alternative and can be tailored to be low glycemic. I think given the tremendous evidence supporting longevity via fasting, skipping breakfast at least on some days is a great way to get the benefits of fasting with most of the fast being when asleep. The real eye popper was the effect of oats which is often touted as heart friendly but then again this is via the cholesterol lowering pathway which I think has possible flaws anyway. I like blending myself so a high fibre blend is certainly a quick easy option.

      1. I suppose the real question is whether being low glycemic is the single most important factor for overall health, and heart health in particular. I’m sure that a breakfast of a 12oz steak or half a pound of cheese every morning would be similarly low glycemic, but are they really healthier overall options when considering other factors such as cholesterol, triglycerides etc. It’s certainly useful to compare the effect of different foods on a single benchmark but the challenge is to be sure it’s the best overall benchmark.

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