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2630 pages added, reviewed or updated during the last month (last updated: 17/4/2021)

2630 pages added, reviewed or updated during the last month (last updated: 17/4/2021)

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glycaemic index (GI) and glycaemic load

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  • glycaemic index of a food is the capacity of a portion of that food containing 50 g available carbohydrate to raise blood glucose compared with 50 g glucose in normal glucose-tolerant individuals

    • differences between foods are likely to be exaggerated in individuals with any degree of impairment of glucose tolerance
    • a diet with a low glycaemic index will involve choosing starch foods, such as basmati rice or spaghetti, as a substitute for foods with a high glycaemic index, such as potato (especially when hot and freshly cooked)
    • a diet with a low glycaemic index can still be high in total carbohydrates

  • glycaemic load of a food is essentially a product of the glycaemic index of the food and the available carbohydrate

    • glycaemic load is an attempt to give a quantitative means of comparing meals, foods, or diets for their glycaemic effects
    • a diet with a lower glycaemic load can be achieved by choosing foods with a low glycaemic index or by reducing the quantities of carbohydrate consumed, or both.
    • diets with a low glycaemic index have been associated with improvements in insulin sensitivity, and the glycaemic index of diets on a population level inversely correlates with HDL cholesterol

For those clinicians seeking to give advice about diets:

  • for lowering the glycaemic index of a diet:
    • use breakfast cereals based on oats, barley, and bran
    • use grainy breads made with whole seeds
    • reduce the amount of potatoes
    • enjoy all types of fruit and vegetables (except potatoes)
    • eat plenty of salad vegetables with vinaigrette dressing


  • a systematic review compared (2) the use of low glycaemic index or load diets with higher glycaemic index or load diets or other weight reduction diets
    • overweight or obese people on a low glycaemic index lost more weight and had more improvement in lipid profiles than those receiving other weight reduction diets
      • body mass, total fat mass, body mass index, total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol all decreased significantly more in the low glycaemic index group
      • the study authors concluded that lowering the glycaemic load of the diet appears to be an effective method of promoting weight loss and improving lipid profiles and can be simply incorporated into a person's lifestyle
  • a low glycaemic diet in patients with type 2 diabetes
    • study of patients with type 2 diabetes, 6-month treatment with a low-glycaemic index diet resulted in moderately lower HbA1c levels compared with a high-cereal fiber diet
    • the authors concluded that low-glycaemic index diets may be useful as part of the strategy to improve glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes taking antihyperglycemic medications
      • the study revealed a reduction of 0.50% absolute HbA(1c) units (95% CI, -0.61% to -0.39%) in the low-glycemic index diet (P < .001) treatment group


Last reviewed 04/2020