Diabetes prevention

Scientific consensus on GI method to classify carbohydrate foods

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In the context of the 4th Yogurt Summit in April 2016 in San Diego, we publish every week a key-study of one of the guest speakers. This week we introduce Thomas Wolever: During a scientific summit in 2013 in Italy, international experts on carbohydrate research discussed the utility of the glycemic index (GI) to classify carbohydrate foods. The outcome was that low GI diets may contribute to the prevention of diabetes and obesity.

The initial purpose of the GI was to measure the blood glucose raising potential of the available carbohydrate in high carbohydrate foods. Due to criticism on the accuracy and validity of this method, the GI has been controversial among researchers and consumers.

The panel agreed on the importance of controlling postprandial glycemia in overall health by using the GI as a valid and reproducible method of classifying carbohydrate foods, complementing other dietary aspects. However, clear information on the GI is needed for health professionals and the general public, this can be supported by including GI in dietary guidelines, food composition tables and in food labels.

The preventive role of low GI and proteins

Diets low in GI/GL may contribute to the prevention and management of obesity, diabetes and coronary heart disease. They may be particularly important for individuals with insulin resistance. The scientists also highlighted the evidence that diets, which combine low GI and moderately higher protein content, may be more efficient in weight management.

One of the benefits of dairy proteins is that it increases satiety and metabolic health in consumers. Moreover, whey protein, which is naturally found in yogurt, is associated with a reduced risk of developing Metabolic Syndrome. Other dairy components, such as calcium and vitamin D, may influence the beneficial effect.

Source: Augustin, L.S.A. et al., Glycemic index, glycemic load and glycemic response: An International Scientific Consensus Summit from the International Carbohydrate Quality Consortium (ICQC), NMCD Sept 2015, Vol 25(9), pg. 795–815.

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