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Glycemic index values are variable, report researchers
Date:9/26/2007

BOSTON (Sept. 26, 2007) In work investigating the reproducibility of glycemic index values, researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University (USDA HNRCA) have reported that multiple glycemic index value determinations (measure of the rate of glucose absorption into the bloodstream) using a simple test food, white bread, resulted in a relatively high level of inter-individual (among different individuals), and intra-individual (within the same individual) variability. Further studies will focus on better defining the magnitude and the sources of the variability. The intent is to better understand how glycemic index relates to chronic disease risk in a wide range of individuals.

Alice Lichtenstein, DSc, corresponding author and director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the USDA HNRCA and colleagues assessed 14 study participants glycemic response to 50 grams of carbohydrate in the form of white bread (test food) and glucose dissolved in water (control food) on different days. This experiment was repeated three times with each individual.

Using glucose as the control food, previous studies indicate that white bread has a glycemic index of about 70, says Lichtenstein, who is also the Gershoff professor of nutrition science and policy at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts. In our study the combined average was 71, virtually identical to the published value. However, quite strikingly, individual values ranged from 44 to 132. What is critical is to determine why there is such a wide range of responses among individuals.

In addition, within the same individual, test values varied by as much as 42 percent. These results show that perhaps using glycemic index for groups is a reasonable indicator to predict chronic disease risk, but there is still considerable uncertainty when applying glycemic index to individuals, explains Lichtenstein.

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Contact: Siobhan Gallagher
617-636-6586
Tufts University, Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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