Low-Glycemic-Index Foods Improve Diabetes Control

The Physicians Committee

Low-Glycemic-Index Foods Improve Diabetes Control

August 1, 2003

Diets rich in carbohydrates that release sugars into the bloodstream slowly improve blood sugar control for individuals with diabetes, according to a meta-analysis published in tomorrow’s Diabetes Care. The analysis compiles the findings of 14 previous studies comparing foods that vary in their glycemic index (GI), a gauge of how quickly foods release sugars into the blood.

Examples of low-GI foods include beans, peas, lentils, pasta, pumpernickel bread, bulgur, parboiled rice, barley, and oats. Diets rich in these foods led to a small, but significant improvement in blood glucose control, as reflected by a drop in hemoglobin A1c levels of 0.43% points (CI 0.72-0.13).

High-GI foods include potatoes, wheat flour, white bread, and some varieties of breakfast cereals and rice. The glycemic index was developed by David J.A. Jenkins, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc., of St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ont., and the University of Toronto.

Brand-Miller J, Petocz P, Hayne S, Colagiuri S. Low-glycemic index diets in the management of diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003;26:2261-2267.

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