The glycemic index of a diet is an indicator of postprandial metabolism, which is important in contributing to cardiovascular risk. Dietary carbohydrates are absorbed and metabolized differently and therefore influence postprandial glucose, insulin, and NEFA concentrations differently. In Western society, the proportion of the day that we spend in the postprandial state is increasing as the tendency to snack throughout the day replaces sit-down meals. The known detrimental consequences of high glycemic foods and snacks on postprandial metabolism should encourage us to advocate low glycemic diets to counter the current epidemic of insulin resistance-related diseases, notably CVD and diabetes. The relevance of the glycemic index to these two major preventable diseases of the Western world argues strongly for its greater acceptance in current nutritional guidelines.

See also: Carbohydrates: Chemistry and Classification; Regulation of Metabolism; Requirements and Dietary Importance; Resistant Starch and Oligosaccharides. Diabetes Mellitus: Dietary Management. Dietary Fiber: Physiological Effects and Effects on Absorption. Fructose. Galactose. Glucose: Chemistry and Dietary Sources. Obesity: Complications. Pregnancy: Nutrient Requirements; Safe Diet for Pregnancy. Sucrose: Nutritional Role, Absorption and Metabolism. World Health Organization.

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