Low Glycemic Index
Diets May Not Lower Blood Sugar Levels – Low Carbohydrate Diets
Including Atkins and South Beach Questioned
Many dieticians recommend diets with a low glycemic index (GI), which is
a measure of the effects of a given food on blood sugar levels. More
accurately, the Glycemic Index (GI) is a measure of the glycemic effect
of carbohydrate in a particular food compared to an equivalent amount of
carbohydrate in a standard amount of glucose or white bread.
There is another factor to consider besides GI, and that is Glycemic
Load (GL). The GL is the GI of the food divided by 100 and then
multiplied by the grams of carbohydrate from a single serving of that
food. If the specific food in consumed in small quantities a high GI
may not always equate to a high GL. It may be more important to
calculate the GL rather than the GI for people that need low sugar
This may help explain why recent research has not been able to explain
why studies have failed to find links between high-GI foods and elevated
blood sugar and diabetes.
Some studies have found that diets heavy high GI foods such as potatoes
and bread can contribute to weight gain, diabetes and heart disease. New
research has found that it is hard to translate lab findings on glycemic
index to our every day meals.
A recent report on NBC News suggests that food has different blood sugar
effects when it's not eaten after a fast. Dr. Elizabeth Mayer-Davis,
the lead author of a new study, points out that a food's GI is
determined under “artificial conditions” where a person eats the test
food after a fast, then has blood sugar tests taken two hours later.
Mayer-Davis is a researcher at the University of South Carolina in
There are other factors that can sway blood sugar levels. Dr.
Mayer-Davis says that that the length of time a carbohydrate is cooked,
the foods it is eaten with, and the workings of an individual's
hormones, among other things may lead to results that don’t jive with
The research is published in the Journal of Nutrition. Her conclusion
is that there was no association between high-GI eating habits and
elevated blood sugar among 813 adults who were followed over 5 years.