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Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Oct;84(4):871-9; quiz 952-3.

Glycemic index and glycemic load in relation to changes in body weight, body fat distribution, and body composition in adult Danes.

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  • 1Research Unit for Dietary Studies, Institute of Preventive Medicine, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.



A diet with a high glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) may promote overconsumption of energy and increase the risk of weight gain.


The objective of the study was to investigate the relation between GI and GL of habitual diets and subsequent 6-y changes in body weight, body fat distribution, and body composition in a random group of adult Danes.


A prospective cohort study was conducted in a subsample of men and women from the Danish arm of the Monitoring Trends and Determinants in Cardiovascular Disease study. The subsample comprised 185 men and 191 women born in 1922, 1932, 1942, or 1952. A baseline health examination and a dietary history interview were carried out in 1987 and 1988; a follow-up health examination was performed in 1993 and 1994.


Positive associations between GI and changes in body weight (DeltaBW), percentage body fat (Delta%BF), and waist circumference (DeltaWC) were observed in women after adjustment for covariates. Significant GI x sex x physical activity interactions for DeltaBW, Delta%BF, and DeltaWC were observed, and the associations in the sedentary women were particularly positive. No significant associations with GI were observed in men, and no significant associations with GL were observed in either sex.


High-GI diets may lead to increases in BW, body fat mass, and WC in women, especially in sedentary women, which suggests that physical activity may protect against diet-induced weight gain. No associations with GI were observed in men, which suggests sex differences in the association between GI and obesity development.

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