The Glycaemic Index

… and the Role of Low GI Foods in Blood Glucose Control

Food and nutrition play a key role in both potentially preventing and/or reducing the risk of a number of diseases such as type 2 diabetes mellitus and coronary heart disease. In this article, two of Leatherhead Food Research’s nutrition experts take a look at the Glycaemic Index (GI) and the role that low GI foods can play in helping to improve blood glucose and/or lipid control in diabetes.

In most developed countries, life expectancy has been increasing steadily over the last half century. This is mainly due to the near- eradication of infectious disease and high standards of living (which includes diet, sanitation and healthcare). However, increasing rates of chronic disease may now have a growing negative influence on life expectancy in both developed and developing countries.

The way we eat plays a key role, not only in potentially improving a medical condition when a certain disease exists, but also in helping to prevent further disease development. Adequate nutritional intake is one of the most effective and least costly ways to help prevent or at least decrease the risk of chronic diseases and their associated risk factors.

Nowadays, there is greater consumer awareness of the importance of eating healthily and therefore the demand for healthier options has grown in the last few years. The food and beverage industry has a responsibility to actively encourage consumers to choose healthier options, to improve the current products on the market and to promote the exchange of high-quality, clear information about how to make better choices.

There is substantial scientific evidence to support the view that low GI foods are beneficial in the prevention and treatment of a number of chronic diseases (e.g. diabetes and coronary heart disease). A low GI diet may also directly or indirectly influence many physiological processes which are relevant to physical and cognitive performance, appetite regulation and energy balance.

This article is available in full in the Autumn 2013 issue of Nutraceuticals Now