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Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2007 Dec;9(6):479-85.

The glycemic index and cardiovascular disease risk.

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Human Nutrition Unit (G08), University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, 2006, Australia.


Postprandial hyperglycemia is increasingly recognized as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Glycemic "spikes" may adversely affect vascular structure and function via multiple mechanisms, including (acutely and/or chronically) oxidative stress, inflammation, low-density lipoprotein oxidation, protein glycation, and procoagulant activity. Postprandial glycemia can be reliably predicted by considering both the amount and type of carbohydrate. In particular, the glycemic index (GI), a measure of postprandial glycemic potency weight for weight of carbohydrate, has provided insights that knowledge of the sugar or starch content has not. In prospective observational studies, dietary GI and/or glycemic load independently predict cardiovascular disease, with relative risk ratios of 1.2 to 1.7 comparing highest and lowest quintiles. In randomized controlled trials in overweight subjects, diets based on low-GI carbohydrates have produced better cardiovascular-related outcomes than conventional low-fat diets. Taken together, the findings suggest that health professionals may be able to improve cardiovascular outcomes by recommending the judicious use of low- GI/glycemic load foods.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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