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Increasing postprandial plasma glucose and insulin excursions are assumed to increase the severity of diabetes and to be independent predictors of the risk of atherosclerotic diseases and adiposity. Many possible connections have been found between postprandial events and the development of diabetes complications [1]. Lowering postprandial plasma glucose and insulin responses are relevant in preventing and managing diabetes mellitus [2, 3]. Therefore, interventions to reduce postprandial plasma glucose and insulin spikes are one of the essential goals in the therapeutic strategy in diabetic patients and could reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular complications.

There is growing recognition that the postprandial glycemic [4, 5] and insu-linemic [6] responses to different foods may vary despite equal amounts of total absorbable carbohydrates. This concept is in favor of using low glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates.

The notion of GI was proposed more than 20 years ago by Jenkins et al. [5] as a practical way to classify carbohydrate-containing foods according to their effect on postprandial blood glucose rather than according to the mere carbohydrate content. The GI is defined as the incremental area under the blood glucose response curve of a 50-gram carbohydrate portion of a test food expressed as a percent of the response to the same amount of carbohydrate from a standard food (glucose or white bread) taken by the same subject [7].

In practice the actual carbohydrate load from a normal portion varies considerably. It is well known now that both type and amount of carbohydrate influence the glycemic response [8, 9]. In order to address this problem, the concept of glycemic load was introduced. Glycemic load, calculated as the amount of carbohydrate in one serving multiplied by the GI of the food, allows comparisons of the likely glycemic effects of realistic portions of different foods [10].

All the centers worldwide, where the experimental and clinical use of low GI foods has been tested, enthusiastically use diet counseling of diabetic or hyperlipidemic patients and even normal subjects at risk of cardiovascular diseases. A large number of studies has in fact demonstrated the efficiency of diet counseling as regards the use of low GI foods in these patients. More striking effects were noted in the improvement of postprandial blood glucose excursions and, consequently, in glycated hemoglobin, in fasting plasma lipids, particularly triglyceride levels and, marginally, total and LDL cholesterol. We will give below some insights into a few of our clinical and experimental studies on this topic. At this stage, we would like to point out that the use of low GI foods is only part of a more general strategy to improve postprandial blood glucose hyperglycemia and thus overall blood glucose control.

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Diabetes 2

Diabetes 2

Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses food. Normally, your body converts sugars, starches and other foods into a form of sugar called glucose. Your body uses glucose for fuel. The cells receive the glucose through the bloodstream. They then use insulin a hormone made by the pancreas to absorb the glucose, convert it into energy, and either use it or store it for later use. Learn more...

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