Should future nutritional recommendations for the general population take into account the notion of glycaemic index (GI)? This question is all the more legitimate as the glycaemic response to foods seems to be a factor that affects satiety and could therefore affect food intake. The aim of this review was to evaluate whether altering the glycaemic response per se can modulate satiety and to assess the short-term and long-term consequences. A systematic review of human intervention studies was performed. Confounding factors that may influence both GI and satiety were taken into consideration when selecting the studies. Thirty-two studies were thus selected and analysed. There is evidence from the short-term studies (1 day) that low-glycaemic foods or meals have higher satietogenic effect than high-glycaemic foods or meals. This substantiates claims such as 'low-GI foods help one to feel fuller for longer than equivalent high-GI foods'. The mechanisms involved may be the specific effect of blood glucose levels on satiety (glucostatic theory) and other stimuli (e.g. peptides) involved in the control of appetite. In some studies, however it seems difficult to tease out the separate effect of the lowering of postprandial glycaemia per se and fibres. Because of the increasing number of confounding variables in the available long-term studies, it is not possible to conclude that low-glycaemic diets mediate a health benefit based on body weight regulation. The difficulty of demonstrating the long-term health benefit of a satietogenic food or diet may constitute an obstacle to the recognition of associated claims.