Correlation does not equal causation, but it may be enough to justify giving something a try.

Sometimes there is enough evidence THAT something is true that you may not need to wait for researchers to figure out WHY it is true. Your body can often tell you if it is true for you, so it may make more sense to just try it out for yourself while simultaneously managing risks.

The recent finding that it is healthy to eat your vegetables and proteins before carbohydrates seems to fit this pattern. According to a New York Times article by Nikki Campo:

“Researchers measured participants’ blood sugar levels right before they ate, and every 30 minutes for three hours after each meal. They found that when the participants ate the chicken and salad before the bread, their blood sugar spikes following the meal were about 46 percent lower than when they ate the bread first.

Researchers aren’t entirely sure why this might be. One theory is that eating fats, fiber and proteins first delays stomach emptying, which could slow the absorption of sugars from the carbohydrates into the bloodstream, Dr. Shukla said.”

This finding can be very significant for those with Type 2 diabetes:

“For those who have Type 2 diabetes, some limited research even suggests that this blood sugar lowering effect could be comparable with certain diabetes medications, said Nicola Guess, a clinical dietitian and researcher at the University of Oxford in Britain.”

Should the rest of us also eat veggies and proteins before we eat carbs?

“If you tend to feel sluggish after meals, front-loading them with vegetables or protein could help, Dr. Shukla and Dr. Surampudi said.

Some research also suggests that saving carbohydrates for the end of a meal can make you more likely to fill up on vegetables and protein and eat fewer simple carbohydrates, which tend to have fewer nutrients and more calories, Dr. Shukla said.

The bottom line, the experts said, is that while meal sequencing is one of many healthy eating strategies, it’s not something to stress about. Dietary trends like these sometimes result in making people anxious, which can lead to disordered eating.

‘If it’s easy for you, then you should go for it,’ Dr. Tricò said. But if not, just aim for high-quality food you enjoy. Loading up on vegetables at every meal is more important than focusing too intently on the order of your food, Dr. Guess said.”

Or as Michael Pollan put it: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

What works for individuals can also work for organizations. In an adaptive, learning organization, everyone is encouraged to experiment (with proper guardrails in place) to discover new opportunities and better ways of doing things.

As evidence of correlations emerge in one person’s experiments, it becomes possible for others to adopt and adapt these experiments to their own challenges to find out if the correlations continue to hold. If you do this systematically, you eventually develop best practices that hold up at least until someone else finds ANOTHER better way to do it:)

© Dana Cogan, 2024, all rights reserved.

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