Your choice to eat dinner HOT or COLD is dependent on lots of thing – odds are, you’ve never factored in glycemic control. Should you ?
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Does food temperature impact glycemic control
Ugh ? I am guessing this is not something you’ve stopped to think about, me neither.
Odds are your choice, to go HOT or COLD is dependent on lots of things.
When you’re having lunch on the go, you are forced to go with the flow.
In the wilderness, lunch will be cold, at the office…… the on site microwave, will definitely get a whirl, especially if last night’s left overs are on the menu. And at the restaurant round the corner – it will depend.
Eish ! Often times it’s not quite as hot as you would like
It is great to slurp ice cream on a hot summer’s day, but the same ice cream has no appeal in the middle of winter. Cold weather sparks the desire for something HOT. A hot toddy, a cup of soup or hot chocolate.
Ambient temperature is also a big deciding factor.
Some foods just taste better HOT/COLD.
Cheese is a good example. Cheese straight out of the fridge has a lot less flavour, than room temperature cheese, because it is HARD and less tasty.
The food temperature choice is personal and often driven by culture.
What it’s not driven by………….. is what my body would prefer. Even though I am a little obsessed with glycemic control, I must be honest, I had never stopped to think, what my “body” might prefer, when it comes to food temperature.
I know what my tongue would prefer – COLD, smooth and sweet.
But my tongue really isn’t responsible for processing the food and let’s face it, is often disconnected from the needs/wants/desires of everything else.
Which is the best food temperature for metabolism ?
The which is better thought crossed the minds of a group of Chinese researchers, so they enlisted the help of some volunteers and fed them, foods at different temperatures.
They started their study by having the folks do the standard oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), with sugar solutions at different temperatures, on two consecutive days.
On one occasion, the OGTT solution was heated to a steamy 50°C
On the other occasion, the OGTT was a frigid 8°C
But since an OGTT is a rather contrived situation, they also had the participants keep with the theme for an extended period of time. On the hot OGTT day, they were fed a hot lunch and hot dinner (45–55 °C), while on the cold OGTT day, they were fed a cold lunch and cold / room temperature dinner (20–24 °C).
The meals that were served were identical and culturally appropriate.
NOTE : They used venous blood samples to do the OGTT, but kept tabs on the glucose levels across the day, with the help of a CGM (continuous glucose monitoring device).
The body prefers
Here are the results for the glucose and insulin responses for the hot/cold OGTT, in metabolically healthy individuals.
Cold was a tiny bit easier to handle.
Although there really isn’t much in it, from a glycemic perspective.
Now our team, measured a little more than the standard variables of an OGTT – they included the two incretin hormones, GIP and GLP-1, in their analysis. GIP was unaffected but the temperature of the glucose solution, but the hot caused an early and obvious bump in GLP-1. You can see the “bump” in the figure below.
Why ? Who knows ?
At a glance it doesn’t make sense…..
A cold stomach is possibly slower
The cells tasked with releasing GLP-1 are way down the gut, so it seems unlikely that they got “triggered” by the cold directly.
The difference may simply reflect that speed of gastric emptying.
Research from way back when, demonstrated that the stomach has a defrost setting. Only when the contents of the stomach are body temperature does it begin the whooshing and whirling, that breaks food particles into small enough bits………..
TO LEAVE THE BUILDING !
NOTE : The why it happened is something that will likely keep the team busy, but at the end of the day – did it matter ?
The healthiest option is…..
The all day feasting on hot versus cold food, when tracked with CGM revealed that it didn’t make a difference to glycemic control.
If you are metabolically healthy, your control is STILL PERFECT, irrespective of the food temperature. You can see this reflected by the “time in range”, despite the mean glucose level being marginally higher in the hot food option.
I am metabolically challenged, so does food temperature make a difference for me.
Does this apply to the metabolically broken ?
Well our team has got you. They did the same thing in people who had crossed the threshold to metabolically DAMAGED i.e. they had just got a diagnosis of being a type 2 diabetic. And, at this moment in time, they had not started to take meds.
In terms of the OGTT.
As expected things were a little wonky – what the curves should look like is shown in the black line at the back. Most notably the insulin response was slow off the mark and as a consequence, glucose levels rose higher than ideal and remained higher for longer.
But, the temperature of the meal, was not a factor.
And having a hot food day versus a cold food day, maybe absolutely NO DIFFERENCE to overall glycemic control.
The time in range is “the same”.
Don’t be fooled by that number, it looks a tiny bit higher, but the difference is not a real difference, the p value tells you the difference that is seen, just happened by chance.
So the take home message…..
If you like it hot. Do hot. If you like it cold. Do cold.
Food temperature is not a lever that will make any difference to your glycemic control.
Yah ! I’m a hot food kinda girl and most of the time, given a choice between vegetables and salad, I’d rather have vegetables, but if you prefer your dinner “cold”. Be careful – salads are not always as healthful as you think ! Click here to learn more.
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Visit the Suppressing Sugar Spikes library page for some suggestions.
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