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Up to a certain time it was thought that the glycemic index of the product directly affects the feeling of hunger. Whether so it actually?

The glycemic index of a food shows how sugar level is reached in your blood after actually eating this food. For reference level of 100 points arranged to take pure glucose, respectively, all other products can only come close to glucose in terms of impact. In European countries packages even indicate the glycemic index of foods. For example, the glycemic index of white bread — 85, candy bars or milk chocolate — 70, in fruit juices — 45-50 in most meat and fish products is less than 10. It is important to understand that the sugar content of the product itself and the amount of sugar, which it gets in the blood stream can be quite different. For example, ice cream, despite the high sugar content, had a much smaller impact on blood sugar than regular bread.

The myth of the glycemic index

Up to a certain time it was thought that the glycemic index of the product directly affects the feeling of hunger.

Table. Foods with a high glycemic index

The mechanism is described like this: after eating a high glycemic index in the blood rises sharply the level of sugar, the body releases a lot of insulin to process sugar levels plummets that causes the feeling of hunger which leads to overeating.

About theory: the Influence of blood sugar on the feeling of hunger

Therefore, foods with high glycemic index and sinned fattening people. However, subsequently, in numerous scientific studies, this hypothesis was refuted. To cease to believe in it is not easy, even (or especially?) a scientist.

The glycemic index does not affect the sense of hunger and fullness

In science there are no final conclusions, they are always based on current data available and therefore are provisional. When new data appear, the scientist evaluates them, and compares with the existing and decides what to do with them: or to adjust them on the basis of previous findings, or to ignore it.

Recently (somewhere in the middle of 2000-x years), I was a staunch supporter of the hypothesis about the effects of insulin on weight gain/ obesity. But the more I delved into this subject, and the more research I read, the more I realize how much was wrong, and that this whole insulin hypothesis is not consistent with the actual situation, i.e. it is simply not true, in the end, I managed to find the strength and ceased to believe in it.

And exactly the same way I once sincerely believed that the “glycemic index” is a significant factor influencing appetite. And again a more detailed study of this question showed that in fact the effect of glycaemic index on appetite is minimal.

Although it seems that all this is quite logical, and within the insulin hypothesis (I’m talking about the logical idea that simple carbohydrates cause a surge of insulin, which in turn should lead to a sharp drop in glucose levels in the blood (reactive hypoglycemia), and all of this is to exacerbate feelings of hunger and overeating). Logical? I guess, logically, but it is not true.

The following discussion focuses on those data that are so strongly influenced my earlier, seemingly unshakeable position regarding the glycemic index and its effect on the appetite.

Oddly enough, but one of the first studies on this issue, a study was made of one ardent supporter of the hypothesis of the glycemic index Jennie brand-Miller. Jenny with her team of scientists tested 38 different foods and assessed the factors that predict satiety after eating them. The glycemic index was one of the factors of satiety.

But factors satiety, were: energy density of food (e.g., ¼ Cup of raisins, roughly equivalent to two cups of grapes, the calorie content of these volumes the same, but the density, i.e. the number of calories in 1G of product, different), protein and/or fiber, as well as individual taste preferences.

Table 1. The saturation index of different foods (for reference — 100% – taken white bread):

In another study the same authors in 1996, changes in the levels of blood glucose were not associated with feelings of satiety. Released in 2007 a meta-analysis (studying the relationship between levels of insulin and blood glucose after a meal and hunger and analysis of energy consumption in connection with these responses, among individuals with normal weight and overweight individuals) also showed that changing levels of blood glucose were not associated with feelings of satiety.

The energy density of food and fiber are the two players who make the uncertainty factor in a study examining the glycemic index. This means that if these two factors are under your control, the influence of glycemic index on appetite is either weak or insignificant.

For example, in the study, which was controlled by the energy density of the food, close-up of the nutrient and fiber content, food with low glycemic index have had little effect on the feeling of satiety and had no effect on the actual consumption of calories.

In other controlled studies, where participants were given access to an unlimited diet and were controlled by the same factors as in the previous study, exactly the same had no effect on the feeling of satiety.

In a very well controlled, meticulously prepared 8-day laboratory study, where controlled macronutrient content in food and its palatability, glycemic index were not associated with fluctuations in levels of the appetite or the consumption of food (depending on taste).

Glycemic index varies

In addition, it was found that the glycemic index of a product varies greatly in different people. Moreover, the values of the glycemic index of one and the same product, varies greatly from day to day at one and the same person, i.e. these data do not allow us to focus on the figure as such in principle.


Because of all the above, I do not consider that when planning diets on the basis of saturation it is necessary to focus on the glycemic index of your meals. Simply because this obsession with the glycemic index of the diet can be eliminated the products which, despite menisci GUY, actually not only well saturated, but carry a high nutritional value (for example, the same potatoes).published econet.ru.

James Krieger

Translation: Dmitry Pikul


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