Release Date: July 29, 2021
BUFFALO, N.Y. — What is the relationship between the foods people eat and their body’s insulin response? The University at Buffalo’s Behavioral Medicine Lab is launching a study that aims to find out.
Funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health, the UB study is now recruiting individuals 18 years of age and older, who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, a condition where a patient’s blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetic.
The goal of the study is to understand what might be different about how individuals at risk for Type 2 diabetes experience and respond to certain foods, especially those with a high glycemic index, which cause blood glucose levels to spike more quickly than foods with a low glycemic index.
It is designed to determine whether the reinforcing value (RRV) of foods – that is, the power of a particular food to motivate an individual to consume more of it – is related to insulin resistance status of individuals with prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes and/or to the glycemic index of foods.
“In general, we know that foods that have a higher glycemic index, that is foods with more sugar, tend to be more reinforcing, motivating people to consume more of them, which is why so many people have difficulty cutting them out,” explained Matthew Biondolillo, PhD, study coordinator and a postdoctoral associate in the Behavioral Medicine Lab.
“We are trying to understand if there are physiological differences that make avoiding those foods more difficult for people who have Type 2 diabetes or are at risk for developing it,” he said.
The study requires that participants make three lab visits, which will take a total of approximately three hours altogether.
They will need to make two visits to the Behavioral Medicine Laboratory on the UB South Campus and one visit to the Diabetes-Endocrinology Center of Western New York, located at 705 Maple Road in Amherst, for a blood draw to determine blood glucose and insulin levels, as well as their A1C, which measures a 90-day average blood glucose level.
At their first visit to the Behavioral Medicine Lab, participants will be provided with two flavors of yogurt to taste and evaluate at home. When they return to the lab, they will be asked to do decision-making tasks where they can earn additional samples of yogurt and fill out questionnaires about how reinforcing the two flavors were.
Participants can earn up to $60 for completing all parts of the study.
The principal investigator on the study is Leonard H. Epstein, SUNY Distinguished Professor and director of the laboratory in the Department of Pediatrics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB. For decades, Epstein, an internationally renowned obesity expert, has pioneered groundbreaking studies in the field of behavioral medicine and nutrition.