A personalised diet, based on a body’s responses to food and analysing gut microbes is effective in managing blood sugar levels and therefore one’s weight, Israeli scientists have found.

Conventional weight loss diets work on the theory that certain foods raise blood sugar levels more than others. Food’s effect on a blood sugar levels is gauged using the glycemic index. It is believed that “sin” foods such as sugary sodas, ice cream, creamy brownies, greasy pizzas spike blood sugar levels and have a higher glycemic index than vegetables, for instance.

But in a research study published in the peer-reviewed journal Cell in November last year, scientists found that is a huge difference between any two people’s responses to the same food.


The research team studied 800 people’s response to identical meals and found high variability in response.

The significant players in digestion, the researchers felt, is the gut microbiome. A microbiome is a collection of all the microbes that are associated with our body. Our microbes influence our health, weight, and well being and can be changed and manipulated, unlike our genetic factors.

The researchers identified the research subjects’ gut bacteria profile or microbiome and monitored blood responses to food. They concluded that consistent alterations to gut microbiome configurations resulted in significantly lower glycemic responses post meals.

Gut microbiome

In essence, the research concluded that tailor-made diets drawn after understanding the gut microbiome profiles in each person help lower glycemic responses, and therefore help lose weight.

BBC’s Saleha Ahsan, who is part of the channel’s Trust Me, I’m a Doctor series, wrote about how she has not been able to lose weight and had been worrying about her health. She visited Weizmann Institute of Science, Tel Aviv, where this research was conducted and realised that all her “healthy snacks” such as grapes, and sushi were in fact causing her blood sugar to spike, whereas, chocolate, ice cream and regular cola didn’t.