Why does one person’s blood sugar spike on half a banana, but another can eat ice cream until the cows come home with, apparently, no ill effects? It’s probably to do with the microbiome.
The billions of microorganisms (bacteria) in your gut – your microbiome – could well be the differentiator in how well your body uses insulin (a hormone your pancreas produces) to keep your blood sugar from spiking after a meal.1
Prediabetes – a condition in which your body begins to develop insulin resistance and struggles to control blood sugar – is a huge risk factor for a range of diseases, not just type 2 diabetes. It can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney, liver and eye disease.
Insulin resistance causes issues because it means high levels of sugar remain in the blood for too long, and this can cause damage to organs. Because obesity and prediabetes often go hand-in-hand, the first-line approach to treatment is to encourage weight loss through a low-fat, low-sugar diet and increased activity.
Why we need a personalised approach
There’s no doubt that weight loss and exercise bring multiple health benefits. Weight loss is a powerful tool to reduce insulin resistance and prevent diabetes in people with prediabetes. However, in our clinical research at Garvan we’ve started noticing something fascinating. In about a quarter of people who maintain a strict ‘healthy’ diet leading to weight loss, this does not change the body’s insulin resistance.
READ MORE: Preventing type 2 diabetes with diet