Your Microbiome Can Impact Your Glycemic Response

glycemic response

Viome was founded to take our current understanding of personalized nutrition to another level. We know there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all diet and that “health” food isn’t healthy for everyone. Not only that, but food that’s good for you today may not be good for you six months from now. Personalized nutrition is just that: personal. With the information we discover from your unique microbiome, we can provide you with a personalized nutrition plan to help restore your natural balance, improve your weight loss, help maintain blood glucose levels, and improve digestive functions.

What We’ve Learned: The Blood Glucose-Microbiome Link

In Viome’s latest breakthrough clinical research study, we found that the glycemic response to foods varies greatly based on each person’s unique gut microbiome. In this scientific paper published by our researchers, we describe the clinical study in which we compare how different foods affect blood glucose on an individual level.

Currently, there is already a scale that tells us how different foods affect blood glucose levels called the Glycemic Index. This has been the standard tool used by millions of diabetics over the years. It has been widely assumed that all people are supposed to experience the same reaction to various foods. For example, foods like bread, pasta, or other carbohydrates cause a spike in blood sugar, and foods like almonds or bananas have little or no effect on blood sugar. However, our research shows that two people can have radically different responses, even two opposite responses, between two foods with similar scores, like bananas and certain breads.

See the chart below for reference:

microbiome glycemic index chart

Your Microbiome Can Impact Your Glycemic Response

It's not the food you eat but what your gut microbiome does with the food you eat that matters most when determining what foods are “healthy” for you. The functions of your microbes (what your microbes are doing) determine how your body absorbs nutrients. Let’s go over two microbiome functions we found that affect your glycemic response: fucose and indoleacetate.

Fucose is a sugar molecule found in your gut lining that various microbial organisms can use as an energy source when other carbohydrate sources are not available, often due to fasting or being on a low-carb diet. What this means is that your body, due to lack of energy sources, eats into your gut lining, over metabolizing the sugar it finds, and contributing to a spike in your glucose levels.

Indoleacetate is a compound known to have anti-inflammatory properties and can also help lower your glucose levels. When your microbes are producing more indoleacetate, your glycemic response drops, which is a good thing. Our analysis has determined that the higher the indoleacetate activity level is in your gut, the lower your glycemic response will be.

These are just two examples featured in our new study that shows how complex the interactions of our microbiome are with the foods we ingest.

Optimizing the gut microbiome with personalized recommendations based on an individual’s unique gut biochemistry can play an essential role now and in the future of your health. The AI engine behind the food recommendations you see in your Viome recommendations uses the data from this study to classify a range of foods -- vegetables, proteins, fruits, fats -- into either ‘enjoy’ or ‘minimize’ foods for you individually.  Minimize foods are more likely to spike your individual blood glucose (depending on the food), and Enjoy foods are more likely to keep your individual blood glucose within an acceptable range.  Viome recommends that you can consume your Enjoy foods regularly but limit consumption of your Minimize foods to a couple of times per week.

Let Food Be Thy Medicine.

Your microbiome is shaped by your own personal experiences and is continually changing. That’s why the need for a personalized approach to health and nutrition is crucial. Viome’s goal is to understand the root cause of all chronic diseases so that we can use food as medicine to prevent and reverse these chronic diseases. Your participation is an essential part of the answer to solving a problem that affects the entire world. Together, we can continue working to fix the system and eventually make personalized nutrition the cure to chronic disease.