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Dietary Carbohydrates and Their Glycemic Responses

David J. A. Jenkins, MD
JAMA. 1984;251(21):2829-2831. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340450045026.
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Different carbohydrate foods produce different glycemic responses, as has been recognized for many years.1-5 However, in terms of dietary advice to diabetics, emphasis has remained on the relative virtue of "complex" carbohydrates (starch) over "simple sugars." The evidence has never been this clear-cut, as indicated by a report in the current issue of The Journal6 on the modest postprandial blood glucose response to ice cream.

Different Glycemic Responses to Different Foods  Studies by Crapo and colleagues2,5 demonstrated that the glycemic response to glucose was similar to certain starchy foods. Sucrose, with a lower blood glucose response than glucose,1,3,7-10 produced a rise in blood glucose levels similar to those produced by many commonly eaten starchy foods.1,3,7-9,11,12 In addition, the blood glucose and insulin responses seen in healthy volunteers were similar when a range of carbohydrates of differing complexity were compared; these included liquid starch, caloreen (a


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