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J Nutr. 2012 Jul;142(7):1240-5. doi: 10.3945/jn.111.146365. Epub 2012 May 30.

Low-glycemic load decreases postprandial insulin and glucose and increases postprandial ghrelin in white but not black women.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.


Alterations in appetite hormones favoring increased postprandial satiety have been implicated in both the glycemic control and potential weight-loss benefits of a low-glycemic diet. Racial differences exist in dietary glycemic load and appetite hormone concentrations. This study examined the impact of glycemic load on appetite hormones in 20 black women [10 normal weight, BMI = 22.8 ± 1.42 (mean ± SD); 10 obese, BMI = 35.1 ± 2.77] and 20 white women (10 normal weight, BMI = 22.9 ± 1.45; 10 obese, BMI = 34.3 ± 2.77). Each woman completed two 4.5-d weight-maintenance, mixed-macronutrient, high-glycemic vs. low-glycemic load diets that concluded with a test meal of identical composition. Blood samples collected before and serially for 3 h after each test meal were assayed for plasma ghrelin and serum insulin and glucose concentrations. Compared with the high-glycemic load meal, the low-glycemic load meal was associated with lower insulin(AUC) (P = 0.02), glucose(AUC) (P = 0.01), and urge to eat ratings (P = 0.05) but with higher ghrelin(AUC) (P = 0.008). These results suggest the satiating effect of a low-glycemic load meal is not directly linked to enhanced postprandial suppression of ghrelin. Notably, these effects were significant among white but not black women, suggesting that black women may be less sensitive than white women to the glucoregulatory effects of a low-glycemic load. These findings add to a growing literature demonstrating racial differences in postprandial appetite hormone responses. If reproducible, these findings have implications for individualized diet prescription for the purposes of glucose or weight control in women.

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