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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Harvard Finds Low-GI Diet may Not Help Lower Risk of Diabetes, Heart Disease

Low-glycemic diets aren’t necessarily a good strategy for helping prevent diabetes and heart disease, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and colleagues. Rather, it’s more important to eat an overall healthy diet.

The study looked at the effect of diets low in “glycemic index” (GI) on overweight adults. Low-GI foods, like vegetables, produce gradual changes in blood sugar, whereas food with high GI, like white bread or potatoes, cause surges in blood sugar. Experts have thought that diets lower in GI could help control weight or lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

But the researchers found that overweight adults on a low-GI diet showed less sensitivity to insulin—the body’s key hormone for regulating blood sugar—than those on a high-GI diet. A decline in insulin sensitivity can lead to type 2 diabetes.

The findings suggest that focusing on overall diet is key, lead author Dr. Frank Sacks, professor of cardiovascular disease prevention at HSPH. Read more