The Effect of High- and Low-Glycemic Index Energy Restricted Diets on Plasma Lipid and Glucose Profiles in Type 2 Diabetic Subjects with Varying Glycemic Control

Leonie K. Heilbronn, Manny Noakes, Peter M. Clifton

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Objective: To determine whether glycemic index (GI) differentially affects improved glucose and lipid profiles observed during weight loss in overweight subjects previously diagnosed with type 2 diabetes with variable glucose tolerance. Methods: Twenty-three female and twenty-two male overweight subjects participated in 12 weeks of energy restriction (average BMI 33.2 kg/m2, age 56.7 years, glycated hemoglobin (GHb) 6.7%). After a four-week run-in on a high saturated fat (SFA) diet (1540 kcal/day, 17% SFA), the free-living subjects were randomly assigned to either a high- (75 GI units) or low- (43 GI units) GI diet (1440 kcal/day, 60% carbohydrate, 5% SFA) for eight weeks. Weight, serum lipids, plasma glucose and glycated hemoglobin were measured every four weeks. An oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) was also performed at baseline, weeks 4 and 12. From the baseline OGTT results subjects were divided into three groups of low, median and high glucose tolerance. Results: At baseline, BMI, age and glycated hemoglobin concentrations were not different between subjects allocated to the high- or low-GI diets. After four weeks, weight loss was 3.6 ± 0.3 kg. Fasting glucose (−5.6%), glycated hemoglobin (−2.8%), area under the glucose curve (−13.0%) and triglyceride (−13.8%) concentrations were reduced (p < 0.02). Between weeks 4 and 12 reductions were observed in weight (−4.9%), fasting glucose (−4.6%), area under glucose curve (−10.1%), glycated hemoglobin (−7.2%), triglyceride (−7.5%) and LDL-C (−13.2%) concentrations. Weight loss was not different between low and high-GI diets. However, glycated hemoglobin was reduced twofold more in subjects consuming a low-GI diet as compared to subjects consuming a high-GI diet, but this was not statistically significant. LDL concentrations were also reduced more in subjects with low glucose tolerance on the low-GI diet (p = 0.02). Conclusion: Weight loss produces substantial improvements in glycemic control and lipoprotein metabolism. Lowering the glycemic index of high carbohydrate, low fat diets increases the fall in LDL cholesterol in subjects with type 2 diabetes with low glucose tolerance, but has little effect on glycemic control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-127
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American College of Nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Apr 2002


  • Diet
  • Glucose tolerance
  • Glycemic index
  • Lipids
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Weight loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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