Association between dietary carbohydrates and body weight

Am J Epidemiol. 2005 Feb 15;161(4):359-67. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwi051.


The role of dietary carbohydrates in weight loss has received considerable attention in light of the current obesity epidemic. The authors investigated the association of body mass index (weight (kg)/height (m)(2)) with dietary intake of carbohydrates and with measures of the induced glycemic response, using data from an observational study of 572 healthy adults in central Massachusetts. Anthropometric measurements, 7-day dietary recalls, and physical activity recalls were collected quarterly from each subject throughout a 1-year study period. Data were collected between 1994 and 1998. Longitudinal analyses were conducted, and results were adjusted for other factors related to body habitus. Average body mass index was 27.4 kg/m(2) (standard deviation, 5.5), while the average percentage of calories from carbohydrates was 44.9 (standard deviation, 9.6). Mean daily dietary glycemic index was 81.7 (standard deviation, 5.5), and glycemic load was 197.8 (standard deviation, 105.2). Body mass index was found to be positively associated with glycemic index, a measure of the glycemic response associated with ingesting different types of carbohydrates, but not with daily carbohydrate intake, percentage of calories from carbohydrates, or glycemic load. Results suggest that the type of carbohydrate may be related to body weight. However, further research is required to elucidate this association and its implications for weight management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Body Weight*
  • Diet Surveys
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Energy Intake
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Glycemic Index
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors


  • Dietary Carbohydrates