Big dippers had a 9 per cent increase in hunger, and waited around half an hour less, on average
New research from King’s College London shows that people who experience big dips in blood sugar levels, several hours after eating, end up feeling hungrier and consuming hundreds more calories during the day than others.
The study was published recently in Nature Metabolism and is from PREDICT, the largest ongoing nutritional research program in the world that looks at responses to food in real life settings. The research team from King’s and health science company ZOE found why some people struggle to lose weight, even on calorie-controlled diets, and highlight the importance of understanding personal metabolism when it comes to diet and health.
The research team collected detailed data about blood sugar responses and other markers of health from 1,070 people after eating standardized breakfasts and freely chosen meals over a two-week period, adding up to more than 8,000 breakfasts and 70,000 meals in total.
Participants wore stick-on continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) to measure their blood sugar levels over the entire duration of the study, as well as a wearable device to monitor activity and sleep. They also recorded levels of hunger and alertness using a phone app, along with exactly when and what they ate over the day.
Previous studies looking at blood sugar after eating have focused on the way that levels rise and fall in the first two hours after a meal, known as a blood sugar peak. However, after analyzing the data, the PREDICT team noticed that some people experienced significant ‘sugar dips’ 2-4 hours after this initial peak, where their blood sugar levels fell rapidly below baseline before coming back up.
Big dippers had a 9 per cent increase in hunger, and waited around half an hour less, on average, before their next meal than little dippers, even though they ate exactly the same meals.