COMMON foods can cause blood sugar spikes in otherwise healthy people, according to a study from Stanford University, California, USA. Abnormal blood sugar levels are a key feature of diabetes; therefore, closely monitoring these spikes could prevent the condition occurring.
Diabetes affects over 30 million people in the USA, almost 10% of the population, while another 84 million people have prediabetes. The glycated haemoglobin test is routinely used to diagnose diabetes and it relies on the average levels of blood sugar over a 3-month period. Physicians can also take fasting blood sugar samples, which informs them of the level of sugar in the blood at that specific point. However, neither method reveals information about the fluctuations of blood sugar during the day.
Researchers led by Prof Michael Snyder, Department of Genetics, Stanford University, monitored the daily fluctuations of blood sugar in 57 adults with an average age of 51 who had not been diagnosed with diabetes. Prof Snyder and his team used continuous glucose monitors to assess blood sugar levels of the participants in their normal environment. They also evaluated their whole-body insulin resistance and insulin secretion. These measurements enabled the researchers to group the participants into three ‘glucotypes’, based on their patterns of blood sugar variability. The findings revealed that, “glucose dysregulation, as characterised by continuous glucose monitoring, is more prevalent and heterogeneous than previously thought and can affect individuals considered normoglycemic by standard measures.”
Following this, the researchers observed how people of different glucotypes reacted to the same meal. The participants were offered three forms of standard breakfast. It was found that each individual responded uniquely, indicating that different people metabolise the same food in various ways. Additionally, the study revealed that common foods, such as cornflakes, cause significant blood sugar spikes in most people.
“Our next study will delve into the physiological causes of glucose dysregulation,” added Prof Snyder. “These include not only genetic variation, but also microbiome composition, and pancreas, liver, and digestive organ functions.” The researchers hope that their recent and future findings will assist efforts to prevent diabetes and its complications.