Kit Kat with Nut and Dried Fruit Topping

Available in Kit Kat Stores in Japan


Blood Sugar Levels in Response to Foods Are Highly Individual

Which is more likely to raise blood sugar levels: sushi or ice cream? According to a Weizmann Institute of Science study reported in the November 2015 issue of the journal Cell, the answer varies from one person to another. The study, which continuously monitored blood sugar levels in 800 people for a week, revealed that the bodily response to all foods was highly individual.

The study, called the Personalized Nutrition Project (, was conducted by the groups of Eran Segal, PhD, a professor in the department of computer science and applied mathematics and Eran Elinav, MD, PhD, of the department of immunology, both at the Weizmann Institute. Segal says, “We chose to focus on blood sugar because elevated levels are a major risk factor for diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. The huge differences that we found in the rise of blood sugar levels among different people who consumed identical meals highlights why personalized eating choices are more likely to help people stay healthy than universal dietary advice.”

Indeed, the scientists found that different people responded very differently to both simple and complex meals. For example, a large number of the participants’ blood sugar levels rose sharply after they consumed a standardized glucose meal, but in many others, blood glucose levels rose sharply after they ate white bread, but not after glucose. “Our aim in this study was to find factors that underlie personalized blood glucose responses to food,” Elinav says. “We used that information to develop personal dietary recommendations that can help prevent and treat obesity and diabetes, which are among the most severe epidemics in human history.”

The study was unique in its scale and in the inclusion of the analysis of gut microbes, collectively known as the microbiome, which had recently been shown to play an important role in human health and disease. Study participants were outfitted with small monitors that continuously measured their blood sugar levels and were asked to record everything they ate, as well as such lifestyle factors as sleep and physical activity. Overall, the researchers assessed the responses of different people to more than 46,000 meals.

Taking these multiple factors into account, the scientists generated an algorithm for predicting individualized response to food based on the person’s lifestyle, medical background, and the composition and function of his or her microbiome. In a follow-up study of another 100 volunteers, the algorithm successfully predicted the rise in blood sugar in response to different foods, demonstrating that it could be applied to new participants. The scientists were able to show that lifestyle also mattered: The same food affected blood sugar levels differently in the same person, depending, for example, on whether its consumption had been preceded by exercise or sleep.

In the final stage of the study, the scientists designed a dietary intervention based on their algorithm; this was a test of their ability to prescribe personal dietary recommendations for lowering blood-glucose-level responses to food. Volunteers were assigned a personalized “good” diet for one week, and a “bad” diet—also personalized—for another. Both “good” and “bad” diets were designed to have the same number of calories, but the diets differed between participants. Thus, certain foods in one person’s “good” diet were part of another’s “bad” diet. The “good” diets indeed helped to keep blood sugar at steadily healthy levels, whereas the “bad” diets often induced spikes in glucose levels—all within just one week of intervention. Moreover, as a result of the “good” diets, the volunteers experienced consistent changes in the composition of their gut microbes, suggesting that the microbiome may be influenced by the personalized diets while also playing a role in participants’ blood sugar responses.

A video animation describing the study is available at the following link:

Source: Weizmann Institute of Science

In Pictures: Designer Candies

Works of Maayan Zilberman, a former Lingerie Designer

Warm Bread Pudding with Roasted Pears and Caramel Sauce


4 cups raisins
1 cup dark rum
2 loaves egg bread
1 cup melted butter
6 egg yolks
2 cups sugar
4 cups 35% cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
grated zest of 1 lemon
4 tsp water
1 tbsp lemon juice
6 ripe pears, peeled and thinly sliced


  1. Combine rum and raisins and set aside to soak, at least 1 hour.
  2. Trim crust off bread and slice into 3/8-inch slices. Toast slices and brush with butter.
  3. In medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and 1 cup of the sugar until creamy. Set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, in medium saucepan, combine cream and vanilla bean and bring to a boil. Scrape out centre of bean into cream and discard pod. Add lemon zest and remove from heat. Whisk cream carefully into egg yolk mixture, 1 ladle at a time, whisking continuously. Be careful cream does not cook egg. Mix brule well and set aside.
  5. In small saucepan, over medium heat, combine the remaining 1 cup of sugar and water.until sugar turns to light caramel colour. Do not stir sugar until caramel is achieved. Add lemon juice to prevent caramel from binding. Add pears and saute 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  6. Preheat oven 325°F (160°C).
  7. Dredge bread slices in brule mixture and layer bottom of a buttered 12 x 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with some of the rum soaked raisins. Add another layer of bread slices going in the opposite direction, trimming bread where necessary. Sprinkle with raisins. Continue with process until bread and raisins are finished. Pour the remaining brule mixture over top, reserving 1/2 cup for vanilla sauce. Arrange pear slices over top layer to completely cover entire surface. Reserve caramel sauce from pear mixture to serve with baked pudding.
  8. Cover bread pudding with parchment paper, pressing down, and then cover with aluminum foil. Bake in bain-marie about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Water bath should only be about 1/2-inch deep. Remove from bain-marie and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until custard sets. Let bread pudding cool about 30 minutes prior to serving.
  9. Meanwhile, add remaining rum from raisins to brule.
  10. Serve bread pudding with brule and reserved caramel sauce.

Makes 18 servings.

Source: Gusto!

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