Glycemic index not relevant to people who follow a healthy diet.

glycemicThe glycemic index is used to measure how quickly foods containing carbohydrates such as fruits, cereals, and raise glucose levels in the .

A new study published by the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research at Johns Hopkins Medicine, has revealed that people who follow a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole and sweets do not have to worry about glycemic index as the diet naturally lowered the of diabetes and .

The study volunteers followed carefully planned diets high or low in carbohydrates and with high or scores. Tests tracked the volunteers’ blood pressure, cholesterol levels and sensitivity to insulin at the beginning and end of each diet. The results showed little difference between high and foods, said study co-director Lawrence J. Appel, M.D., M.P.H.

“We were really surprised,” Appel said. “We did not detect any clear benefit of the diets on the major factors for , and we found no evidence of benefit for diabetes prevention.”

The research authors looked closely at other studies focusing on the use of foods in weight control. “The evidence has been inconsistent that low glycemic foods help people lose more weight or keep it off,” Appel said. “In looking at the causes of obesity and ways to combat it, a narrow focus on the glycemic index seems to be unwarranted.”

One hundred sixty three volunteers from Baltimore and Boston participated in the study. All were overweight and had above normal blood pressure, and were randomly assigned to follow one of four diets.

Researchers tested the volunteers’ blood pressure; sensitivity to insulin; and levels of “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides, fat , or lipids, that play a role in heart . The diets did not lower blood pressure or LDL cholesterol, and they did not improve insulin resistance.

The researchers recommend following a basic healthy diet. “Get back to the basics that most people already know,” said study co-director Lawrence J. Appel, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of medicine and director of the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Don’t drink sugar-sweetened drinks. Try to eat fruits, vegetables and whole . Try to avoid sweets, salt, and foods high in saturated and trans fats. People who follow these principles will reap the benefits.”


Frank M. Sacks, Vincent J. Carey, Cheryl A. M. Anderson, Edgar R. Miller, Trisha Copeland, Jeanne Charleston, Benjamin J. Harshfield, Nancy Laranjo, Phyllis McCarron, Janis Swain, Karen White, Karen Yee, Lawrence J. Appel. Effects of High vs of Dietary Carbohydrate on Cardiovascular Disease Factors and Insulin Sensitivity. JAMA, 2014; 312 (23): 2531 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2014.16658

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