Glycemic Index

From Research to Nutrition Recommendations?

image of Glycemic Index

Epidemiological and intervention studies have increased both public and expert awareness of the possible importance of blood sugar regulation and the varying glycemic index of foods in the etiology and treatment of chronic diseases. Generally a low glycemic index diet is considered beneficial due to less incremental increase in blood levels of glucose than with a high glycemic index diet. Nordic dietary habits include a large number of carbohydrate rich food items, many of which are likely to fall into the category of high glycemic index. Evaluation of the evidence and the practical implications of these studies on nutrition recommendations have to be clarified. The report sheds a light to the strengths and weaknesses of the glycemic index.



From a Nordic perspective

In the Nordic countries, health professionals include a modified version of the GI concept when giving dietary advice to diabetic patients for the control of blood sugar. People have thus been advised to use more “slowly absorbed” and less “fast absorbed” carbohydrates, and this is explained without giving GI tables to the patient (Jarvi et al., 1998). Although the GI concept has proved to be a useful educational tool for people with diabetes as a part of nutritional advice, a certain degree of care is required with patients and the public to prevent misinterpretation and misunderstanding (Jarvi et al., 1998), i.e., the concept must be an integral part of whole-diet evaluation.


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