A limited number of studies have compared the glycaemic index (GI) and glycaemic responses (GR) to solid foods between Caucasians and Asians. These studies have demonstrated that Asians have greater GI and GR values for solid foods than Caucasians. However, no study has compared the GI and GR to liquids among various Asian ethnic groups.
A total of forty-eight males and females (16 Chinese, 16 Indians, and 16 Malay) took part in this randomised, crossover study. Glycaemic response to the reference food (glucose beverage) was measured on three occasions, and GR to three liquids were measured on one occasion each. Liquids with different macronutrient ratio’s and carbohydrate types were chosen to be able to evaluate the response to products with different GIs. Blood glucose concentrations were measured in duplicate at baseline (−5 and 0 min) and once at 15, 30, 45, 60, 90, and 120 min after the commencement of beverage consumption.
There were statistically significant differences in GI and GR between the three liquids (P < 0.01 in all cases). However, there were no statistically significant differences in GI and GR for the liquids between the ethnic groups (Chinese vs. Indian vs. Malay).
The GR for three different types of liquid nutritional supplements did not differ between the three main ethnic groups in Asia. It appears that the GI of liquid food derived from one Asian ethnicity can be applicable to other Asian populations.