Glucose profile: key to choosing the right diet

For way too long time we were convinced that in weight loss there is one diet that fits all. It sounds convincing and logical: eat less, increase energy expenditure by exercising more, choose quality foods. It should work, right? We all know it just doesn’t – if it did, we wouldn’t be facing the global obesity epidemics. The thing is – the recipe probably does work, but it’s hard to adhere to it, so people give up and even after a few weeks of sticking to the plan they rebound and regain weight.
Only in the past decade the weight loss research has started to highlight the notion that in fighting obesity the one size fits all approach isn’t very effective. Instead, we should be looking for diets, tailored to individual needs. But how do we know which diet will fit an individual and which one will only help them gain more weight?

The question is still not settled, but scientists are having a hunch. As Dr. Jeff Volek and Dr. Steve Phinney claim in their seminal work The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living there are approximately 75% of people who would benefit of taking dietary route that is much different from the official dietary guidelines (Volek et al., 2011). These people – to put it in simple terms – do not take carbohydrates well, so they should minimize the intake of those, and replace the needed food with high-fat content meals.

Recently, an interesting paper was published, comparing 3 randomized clinical trials where after initial weight loss programme, the participants were given different weight maintenance diets. Several biomarkers were observed, among them the fasting insulin and fasting plasma glucose. It turns out, that above normal or even abnormal levels of fasting plasma glucose (prediabetics / diabetics) are good predictors of which diet to choose. Normoglycemic individuals thrived on low-fat high carbohydrate diet, while people with disorders in glucose metabolism should take much more care with the amount and quality of the carbohydrates in their diets (Hjorth et al., 2017).
In the end, we all have to admit, that feeding carbs to people with prediabetes and diabetes doesn’t sound so common sense, does it?

HJORTH, M.F. et al. 2017. Pretreatment fasting plasma glucose and insulin modify dietary weight loss success: results from 3 randomized clinical trials. Am J Clin Nutr.
VOLEK, J.S. and PHINNEY, S.D. 2011. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living. Miami: Beyond Obesity LLC.