Orly Ben-Yacov is a registered dietitian and senior PhD student in the lab of Prof Eran Segal at the Weizmann institute of Science in Israel. Her research is in the field of microbiome and nutrition, and specifically the role that these factors have in blood glucose levels management in prediabetes and diabetes.
Prediabetes, characterized by chronically impaired blood glucose responses, is a leading risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and its metabolic complications. Current practice for prevention of diabetes includes weight loss-targeting dietary and lifestyle modifications but has had limited success. Alternative approaches, such as dietary interventions that directly target blood glucose levels rather than weight-loss for prevention of T2DM, are not well established and have been much less studied. In particular, postprandial (post-meal) glucose responses (PPGR) are a major determinant of glycemic control, but despite their importance, existing dietary methods for controlling postprandial glycemic responses (PPGRs) have limited efficacy.
Using an algorithm for predicting personalized postprandial glucose responses (PPGR) to food based on clinical and gut microbiome features, that was previously developed in our lab, we conducted a 6-month randomized controlled diet intervention trial (RCT) and additional 6-month post-intervention follow-up program aimed at testing the long-term efficacy of a personalized PPGR-targeting diet in improving glycemic control and other metabolic outcomes, as compared to a commonly used Mediterranean-style diet in prediabetes. We found that our personalized PPGR-targeting diet (‘PPT diet’) was an effective alternative to a Mediterranean-style diet (‘Med diet’) with respect to improving glycemic control and other metabolic measures in people with prediabetes. The favorable effects of the ‘PPT diet’ on glycemic control persisted also at 6-month post-intervention follow up. Our findings suggest that personalized PPGR-targeting diets should be considered in clinical practice for normalizing blood glucose levels and prevention of T2DM.