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Relationship between rate of digestion of foods and post-prandial glycaemia


The amount of carbohydrate released at 1 and 5 h by digestion in vitro of 2 g carbohydrate portions of 14 foods by human digestive juices was compared with the area under the 2-h blood glucose response curve when 50 g carbohydrate portions were fed to groups of five to ten healthy volunteers. A significant relationship was found between the amounts of sugars and oligosaccharides liberated at 1 and 5 h and the food blood glucose area expressed as a percentage of the blood glucose area for 50 g glucose (r=0.8627 and 0.8618, p<0.001). A significant relationship was also found between the glycaemic index and the food fibre content (p<0.02) and between the glycaemic index and the glucose trapping capacity of the foods (p<0.05). Legumes as a group liberated 56% less sugars and oligosaccharides (p<0.01) than the eight cereal foods over 5 h. It is suggested that such studies in vitro may help to identify food of use for diabetic patients, and at the same time throw further light on factors which affect post-prandial glycaemia.


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Jenkins, D.J.A., Ghafari, H., Wolever, T.M.S. et al. Relationship between rate of digestion of foods and post-prandial glycaemia. Diabetologia 22, 450–455 (1982).

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Key words

  • Digestion in vitro
  • post-prandial glycaemia
  • rate of absorption
  • dietary fibre
  • dietary carbohydrate
  • diabetes