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

dex is a scale applied to foods based on how quickly the glucose in foods is absorbed into the blood stream, relative to pure glucose. Some nutrition professionals use the glycemic index as a tool for people trying to control blood sugar, such as those with diabetes. Others use the mean glycemic index of diets to predict chronic disease risk in large groups of people. Potential confounding factors, such as the fiber or fat content of the food, are not directly factored into the calculations.

There are many factors that can influence the glycemic index of a food, says Lichtenstein. For example, a piece of white bread may have a high glycemic index but, if a person eats a slice of turkey and cheese with that bread, the effect of the multiple foods may result in a different glycemic index than if that person had eaten the white bread alone. Since most food is consumed as combinations during meals and snacks, there is a need to assess the significance of using glycemic index values determined on individual foods for food mixtures. Similarly, it is important to know whether the food consumed prior to a meal or snack alters subsequent glycemic response.

It is possible that we need to develop better research tools and more stringent applications for glycemic index determinations, she says. Larger studies of diverse populations are needed to determine why inter-individual, and particularly intra-individual, glycemic index values are so variable. If we can identify the source of the variability, it will allow for more insight into the applications of the glycemic index as a tool for both researchers and in public health messages.

Lichtenstein and colleagues have received a five-year grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to further their understanding of the glycemic index and its utilities. The current study was supported by the U.S. Department of Agricultures Agricultural Research Service.


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

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