Health benefits of low glycaemic index foods, such as pulses, in diabetic patients and healthy individuals

Br J Nutr. 2002 Dec;88 Suppl 3:S255-62. doi: 10.1079/BJN2002715.


The present paper covers the health benefits of low glycaemic index foods, such as pulses. Nutritional factors potentially play a crucial role in health and disease. A low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet is often recommended as a part of a healthy life-style. Historical works have shown that carbohydrate foods differ in their ability to affect post-ingestive glycaemia. The glycaemic index concept allows a ranking of carbohydrate-rich foods in terms of their blood glucose raising potential. Pulses are foods with very low glycaemic index values. Numerous studies have documented the health benefits that can be obtained by selecting foods of low glycaemic index. These benefits are of crucial importance in the dietary treatment of diabetes mellitus: glycaemic control is improved as well as several metabolic parameters, such as blood lipids. The results of human studies have been confirmed by animal experiments in the field of diabetes. Diets with low glycaemic index value improve the prevention of coronary heart disease in diabetic and healthy subjects. In obese or overweight individuals, low-glycaemic index meals increase satiety and facilitate the control of food intake. Selecting low glycaemic index foods has also demonstrated benefits for healthy persons in terms of post-prandial glucose and lipid metabolism. Several public health organizations have recently integrated consideration of the glycaemic index in their nutritional recommendations for patients with metabolic diseases and for the general population.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Cholesterol, HDL / analysis
  • Coronary Disease / diet therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / diet therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy
  • Diet
  • Fabaceae*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / analysis
  • Glycemic Index*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Lipids / biosynthesis
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diet therapy
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Rats


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Insulin
  • Lipids