Glycemic index and glycemic load in preventive cardiology – the state of knowledge, selected controversies

Review Article, Pol J Public Health 2019;129(1): 22-26

Michał Skrzypek1, Agnieszka Momora2, Renata Krzyszycha1

1 Department of Clinical Dietetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, Medical University of Lublin, Poland
2 Chair of Public Health, Dietetics and Civilisation Diseases, Medical Faculty, University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszów, Poland

DOI: 10.2478/pjph-2019-0005

© 2019 Medical University of Lublin. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonComercial-No Derivs licence (


The current epidemiological situation in Poland is characterized by prevalence of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) as the main cause of mortality. In the paper the current state of knowledge on the importance of glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) in CVD prevention is presented, taking into consideration the latest recommendations on CVD prevention. In a nutrition strategy based on consumption of low GI/GL foods, the target of the intervention is the profile of dietary carbohydrates which is treated as a modulator of glycemic response. In the light of the current state of research, there is no reason to treat GI/GL values as markers of pro-health qualities of the dietary plan recommended in CVD prevention to individuals with normal glucose homeostasis. However, the preventive potential of diets characterized by low GI/GL deserves a more extensive application in patients with glucose homeostasis disturbances, including those with prediabetes and insulin resistance syndrome. Taking into account the relations between abnormal carbohydrate metabolism and a risk of developing diabetes, followed by CVD, the benefits of low-glycemic diets in individuals with impaired glucose homeostasis can indirectly result in lowering the risk of CVD. It is reasonable to conduct further clinical studies on the relevance of low GI/GL diets in preventive cardiology.

Keywords: glycemic index, glycemic load, cardiovascular diseases prevention, cardiovascular diseases risk factors, clinical dietetics.


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