Eat Whole Grain – the glycemic index is back, again

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low-glycemic index

Some things seem to be reported in never-ending cyclic patterns.  This might be one of them but I tend to think that it is actually the journalists interpretation that brings about the feeling of deja vu rather than the researcher’s investigation.

It’s not necessarily the amount of carbohydrates you consume as it is the type (or the glycemic load), so says a “new study” recently reported by Reuters after being published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:

How many carbs you eat might be less important for your blood sugar than your food’s glycemic load, a measure that also takes into account how quickly you absorb those carbs.

That’s the conclusion of a new study of healthy adults, which questions the way people with type 1 diabetes determine how much insulin they should take before meals.

Well, measuring how fast carbohydrate is absorbed has been around for a long time and we’ve been avoiding simple carbohydrates in preference to whole grain cereals and complex carbs as long as I can remember.  Perhaps I’m missing something or the actual research was under-reported but there is a reason I’m eating the 7-grain cooked cereal in the image above rather than corn flakes – the difference in glycemic index!

Never-the-less, any study that can help educate us on the damaging impact of post-prandial variability has value and perhaps a read of the research as reported rather than interpreted will add additional insight.

Here it is

Among the single foods, GL was a more powerful predictor of postprandial glycemia and insulinemia than was the available carbohydrate content, which explained 85% and 58% of the observed variation, respectively (P < 0.001). Similarly, for mixed meals, GL was also the strongest predictor of postprandial glucose and insulin responses, which explained 58% (P = 0.003) and 46% (P = 0.01) of the variation, respectively. Carbohydrate content alone predicted the glucose and insulin responses to single foods (P < 0.001) but not to mixed meals.

Conclusion: These findings provide the first large-scale, systematic evidence of the physiologic validity and superiority of dietary GL over carbohydrate content alone to estimate postprandial glycemia and insulin demand in healthy individuals.

Yes, this provides more insight and implies dosing insulin on the basis of raw carb counting can be problematic because there is a great difference between whole grain bread and a glass or orange juice.


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