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Nutr Rev. 2011 Apr;69(4):231-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00382.x. Epub 2011 Mar 1.

Informing food choices and health outcomes by use of the dietary glycemic index.

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Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA.


Considerable epidemiologic evidence links consuming lower glycemic index (GI) diets with good health, particularly upon aging. The GI is a kinetic parameter that reflects the ability of carbohydrate (CHO) contained in consumed foods to raise blood glucose in vivo. Newer nutritional, clinical, and experimental data link intake of lower dietary GI foods to favorable outcomes of chronic diseases, and compel further examination of the record. Based upon the new information there are two specific questions: 1) should the GI concept be promoted as a way to prolong health, and 2) should food labels contain GI information? Further, what are the remaining concerns about methodological issues and consistency of epidemiological data and clinical trials that need to be resolved in order to exploit the benefits of consuming lower GI diets? These issues are addressed in this review.

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