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Eran Segal

Show 1017: How to Avoid Weight Gain Over the Holidays

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We are accustomed to hearing, “Eat this, don’t eat that.” Nearly everyone who makes such a pronouncement is convinced that he or she has discovered the one and only diet that will solve the problem of obesity in America.

If only it were that simple! The US still has a high rate of obesity and growing rates of type 2 diabetes. Is it only because people are undisciplined about their diets, or might there be other explanations?

Watching Out for Blood Sugar Spikes:

We have all been told to avoid sweets and highly processed carbs such as bagels, pizza or bread. That’s because these foods often cause post-meal spikes in blood sugar first, and then insulin.

How Do You React to Specific Foods?

Now, however, Israeli researchers have found that each of us reacts in a unique way to foods. For some, ice cream will cause the sharpest blood sugar spike; for others, the trigger might be mashed potatoes or bananas. The scientists measured blood sugar responses, bacterial flora and other characteristics of 800 people and developed a computer algorithm that predicts blood sugar response more accurately than that prescribed by an experienced dietitian. What are the implications?

How Will You Avoid Weight Gain Over the Holidays?

The period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day presents many temptations to overeat. We welcome listeners’ calls about their strategies to avoid gaining weight during this festive feasting season. Call 888-472-3366 to join the conversation.

This Week’s Guests:

Eran Segal, PhD, is Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. His article, “Personalized Nutrition by Prediction of Glycemic Responses,” was published in Cell, Nov. 19, 2015. The photo is of Dr. Segal.

David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD, is a practicing endocrinologist and researcher at Boston ChildrenÕs Hospital, Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. He is Founding Director of the Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) program at Boston ChildrenÕs Hospital. He also directs the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center.

Dr. Ludwig’s forthcoming book, Always Hungry: Conquer Cravings, Retrain Your Fat Cells, and Lose Weight Permanently, will be published Jan. 5, 2016. His commentary on Dr. Segal’s research, “Could Your Healthy Diet Make Me Fat?” was published in the New York Times on Nov. 28, 2015. His website is


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