Background: The health benefits of consuming a low glycaemic index (GI) diet to reduce the risk of type 2 Diabetes are well recognized. In recent years the GI values of various foods have been determined. Their efficacy in constructing and consuming a low GI diet over 24 h in modulating glycaemic response has not been fully documented. The translation of using single-point GI values of foods to develop a 24 h mixed meal diet can provide valuable information to consumers, researchers and dietitians to optimize food choice for glycaemic control. By using GI values of foods to develop mixed meals, our study is the first to determine how both blood glucose and substrate oxidation may be modulated over 24 h.
Methods: The study included 11 Asian men with a BMI between 17-24 kg/m2 who followed both a 1-day low GI and 1-day high GI diet in a randomized, controlled cross-over design. Test meals included breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner. Glycaemic response was measured continuously for over 24 h and postprandial substrate oxidation for 10 h inside a whole body calorimeter.
Results: The low GI diet resulted in lower 24 h glucose iAUC (860 ± 440 vs 1329 ± 614 mmol/L.min; p = 0.014) with lower postprandial glucose iAUC after breakfast (p < 0.001), lunch (p = 0.009), snack (p = 0.012) and dinner (p = 0.003). Moreover, 24 h mean amplitude of glycaemic excursion was lower during the low GI vs high GI diet (1.44 ± 0.63 vs 2.33 ± 0.82 mmol/L; p < 0.001). Simultaneously, decrease in 10 h fat oxidation was less during the low vs high GI diet (-0.033 ± 0.021 vs -0.050 ± 0.017 g/min; p < 0.001), specifically after breakfast (p < 0.001) and lunch (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: Our study corroborates that using low GI local foods to construct a 24 h low GI diet, is able to reduce glycaemic response and variability as recorded by continuous glucose monitoring. Our observations also confirm that a low GI diet promotes fat oxidation over carbohydrate oxidation when compared to a high GI diet. These observations provide public health support for the encouragement of healthier nutrition choices by consuming low GI foods.