A new study out of the UK has revealed that the biggest clue to weight loss could be in our blood sugar levels.
Researchers found people who have a tendency towards large spikes in their blood sugar levels - known as "big dippers" - may be consuming hundreds of extra calories a day.
The findings, published this week in the journal Nature Metabolism, are from a recent study which saw over 1000 participants eating standardised breakfasts, followed by three hour fast and then their own freely chosen meals afterwards.
Participants wore sensors which continuously monitored their blood sugar levels and activity, and logged their subsequent meals and hunger levels in an app on their phones.
The standardised breakfasts consisted of muffins which all contained the same amount of calories but varied in carbohydrate, protein, fat and fibre levels.
Across the group, the drop in blood sugar levels 2-3 hours after breakfast corresponded with the size of the meals that participants ate over the next 24 hours. Study subjects whose blood sugar levels dropped significantly 2-4 hours after eating ("big dippers") were more likely to feel hungry sooner.
They consumed an average of around 300 more calories over the course of the day than people with the smallest dips ("little dippers").
Dr Sarah Berry from King's College London told The Sun the study has proven "that sugar dips are a better predictor of hunger and subsequent calorie intake than the initial blood sugar peak response after eating".
The authors now say that people trying to lose weight need to understand their own personal metabolism when it comes to dieting.
So if you're a big dipper, what can you do?
The best way to tackle your blood sugar levels is by addressing your breakfast - a high fibre, high protein breakfast will help stabilise your blood sugar levels and stop big peaks and troughs for the rest of the day. Including some healthy fats will also slow sugar absorption into the bloodstream, again stopping those big dips.
Some great options include:
- Homemade muesli packed with nuts, oats and seeds, accompanied by full-fat yogurt and berries. Avoid packaged muesli which is often full of hidden sweeteners and dried fruit
- Grainy toast topped with avocado and a hard boiled egg
- A chia pudding made with chia seeds, milk of choice, protein powder and yogurt. Top with berries and a sprinkling of nuts and seeds
- These high fibre breakfast bars (great for the morning commute)