Obesity is among the most important medical problems in America today. Currently, approximately 1 in 4 children and 1 in 2 adults are overweight, prevalence rates that have increased by 50% since the 1960s. In an attempt to combat this problem, the Federal government and various official medical agencies have advocated decreasing intake of total fat and sugar, while increasing consumption of "complex carbohydrate." Despite a recent reduction in fat consumption to near the recommended 30% of total energy, rates of obesity have continued to rise, suggesting that other dietary factors may play a critical role in body weight regulation. One such factor may be glycemic index. This review examines the physiologic effects of glycemic index and argues for the need for controlled clinical trials of a low glycemic index diet in the treatment of obesity.