New Insight into Diabetes Management: From Glycemic Index to Dietary Insulin Index

Curr Diabetes Rev. 2020;16(4):293-300. doi: 10.2174/1573399815666190614122626.


Background: Despite efforts to control hyperglycemia, diabetes management is still challenging. This may be due to focusing on reducing hyperglycemia and neglecting the importance of hyperinsulinemia; while insulin resistance and resultant hyperinsulinemia preceded diabetes onset and may contribute to disease pathogenesis.

Objective: The present narrative review attempts to provide a new insight into the management of diabetes by exploring different aspects of glycemic index and dietary insulin index.

Results: The current data available on this topic is limited and heterogeneous. Conventional diet therapy for diabetes management is based on reducing postprandial glycemia through carbohydrate counting, choosing foods with low-glycemic index and low-glycemic load. Since these indicators are only reliant on the carbohydrate content of foods and do not consider the effects of protein and fat on the stimulation of insulin secretion, they cannot provide a comprehensive approach to determine the insulin requirements.

Conclusion: Selecting foods based on carbohydrate counting, glycemic index or glycemic load are common guides to control glycemia in diabetic patients, but neglect the insulin response, thus leading to failure in diabetes management. Therefore, paying attention to insulinemic response along with glycemic response seems to be more effective in managing diabetes.

Keywords: Diabetes mellitus; dietary insulin index; glycemic index; glycemic load; hyperglycemia; hyperinsulinemia..

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Glycemic Index*
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / diet therapy*
  • Hyperglycemia / metabolism
  • Hyperinsulinism / diet therapy*
  • Hyperinsulinism / metabolism
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Postprandial Period


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Insulin