One of the most valuable applications of Signos is seeing how food, hydration, sleep and movement affect your body’s metabolism in real time.
Let’s face it, we’re all different, yet the diet industry has attempted to create one-size-fits-all plans for weight loss.
The reality however, is that we all react to food differently. While anyone can temporarily lose weight on a diet, the future of sustainable, life-long weight loss is in finding foods and lifestyle changes that are specifically tailored for you.
A 2015 study published in Cell tested the glucose response of 800 individuals to over 40,000 different meals. The study found that individuals had varied responses to the same foods1.
By using glucose data captured in Signos to discover what works for you and what doesn’t, you’re on the forefront of precision nutrition. Put simply, you can find which specific foods keep your glucose stable and build a tailored nutrition plan from these findings.
I was watching a TEDMed video2 from psychiatrist and mindfulness expert Judson Brewer who posited that one very effective way to break a bad habit is to become curious about that habit.
Why do I always reach for a box of cookies or a piece of chocolate cake? Brewer encourages the audience in his talk to become curious about what happens when you engage in a habit that you’re trying to break.
I know how my body reacts to a piece of chocolate cake; I spike about 60–80 mg/dL from just a moderate slice. Merging the findings of the study on personalized nutrition in Cell with Brewer’s talk, I realized that I should embrace my curiosity and devise ways to test how my body responds to food... and have fun doing it.
I am the Chief Data Scientist at Signos, and a self-professed data geek, so it didn’t take much convincing. All I needed to do was devise some food experiments using Signos as my way of measuring the results.
Early in the morning in August 2020, I devised my first glucose experiments. I had just read an article3 that cooling white rice for a day in the refrigerator can have a much gentler effect on your glucose levels than that same rice eaten fresh from the pot. The theory was that cooled rice contains more resistant starch than its freshly cooked counterpart. I was skeptical.
Before I started using Signos, I would have probably tried eating cooled rice for a period of time to see if it made any difference in my weight. As a researcher, however, I knew that there were limitations to that approach, namely confounding factors such as what else I ate during the test, how well I slept the night before, and my current stress level, to name just a few.
I pulled out a rice cooker and made two cups of freshly cooked white rice. I consumed one cup of rice for breakfast and placed the other cup in the fridge to cool for the following morning. The glucose spike after eating the freshly cooked rice was 30 points higher than the same rice cooled in the fridge overnight.
I now know that I can cook and cool white rice, a high-glycemic food, and eat it cold the next day and not have it spike my glucose as high as if I had eaten it cooked fresh and not cooled.
Pretty cool, right? If you’re a Signos member and want to learn how to perform your own glucose response experiments, keep reading for my best advice.
Here’s some guidelines for conducting your own research.
I’ve conducted, on average, several experiments per month on Signos for several reasons. There are so many questions I have about what carbohydrates I can enjoy without seeing my glucose rise in the Signos app.
Keep in mind that things change as you start building healthier eating habits. It's likely that your microbiome will change, which may change your body’s response to specific foods.
As you continue to test your own food hypotheses, regardless of the experiment's outcome, you’re building your own mindful approach to nutrition, health, and fitness.