Wondering why you’re always hungry — even after eating filling meals? It’s not all in your head. According to a new study, it has to do with our blood sugar and how low it dips in the hours after we’ve chowed down.
The research comes from ZOE, a company that uses at-home test kits to help people understand their microbiome and nutritional needs in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The team consisted of scientists from Harvard Medical School, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Nottingham, King’s College London, Leeds University, and Lund University in Sweden.
They observed over 1,000 participants (several of whom were twins) and gave them each the exact same meal twice a day. Unlike previous studies which typically only observe the effect of food on blood sugar two hours after eating, the team tracked participants’ glucose levels for three to four hours following a meal. Those who had a more significant dip in their blood sugar (“big dippers”) were also more likely to eat their second meal sooner, plus get hungrier again later in the day, and consume 200 to 300 extra calories overall than those with smaller glucose dips (“little dippers”).
The researchers saw no correlation between things like age or weight that indicated whether a participant would fall under the big or little dipper category. Even identical twins who participated and, again, ate the exact same things often showed vastly different results.
The team explains that it comes down to each person’s “unique metabolism together with the day-to-day effects of the foods you choose and your activity levels.” Basically, it’s further proof that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to diet and weight loss. Our bodies all react differently to the food that we eat.
The folks at ZOE aim to help clear up the mystery for us by offering at-home kits that test things like microbiome balance, blood fat responses, and blood sugar responses. This will then give us a more informed picture of how we can adapt our eating habits, make healthier choices, and maybe even lose a few pounds.
Take a look at the video below to learn more about the study and hear from people who have used ZOE:
Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London and scientific co-founder of ZOE, sums it all up: “Food is complex and humans are complicated, but our research is finally starting to open up the black box between diet and health. We’re excited to have been able to turn this cutting-edge science into an at-home nutrition and microbiome test so that everyone has the opportunity to discover their unique responses to food to best support their metabolism and gut health.”
You can head over to the ZOE website for more information. You can also discuss the study and potential options with your personal doctor. Here’s hoping we can all get on the path to a long, healthy, and fit life!