Background: Glycemic load (GL) is the product of glycemic index of a food and amount of available carbohydrate in that food divided by 100. GL represents quality and quantity of dietary carbohydrate. Little is known about the role of GL in hunger, satiety, and food intake in preschool children. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of two breakfast meals differing in GL on hunger, satiety, and subsequent food intake at lunch in preschool children aged 4-6 y.
Methods: Twenty three subjects consumed low-GL (LGL) and high-GL (HGL) breakfast meals according to a randomized crossover design followed by an ad libitum lunch 4 h after consumption of breakfast. Children were asked to consume meals until they are full. Each treatment was repeated twice in non-consecutive days and data were averaged.
Results: Children in LGL group consumed significantly lower amounts of GL, total carbohydrate, energy, energy density, and dietary fiber and higher amounts of protein and fat at the breakfast compared to those in HGL group. Prior to lunch, children were hungrier in the HGL intervention group compared to the LGL intervention group (P < 0.03). However, no significant difference was observed between LGL and HGL intervention groups in the amount of food and energy consumed during lunch.
Conclusions: Decreased hunger in children prior to lunch in LGL group is likely due to higher protein and fat content of LGL breakfast. Diets that are low in GL can be recommended as part of healthy diet for preschool children.