Glycemic Index (GI) or Glycemic Load (GL) and Dietary Interventions for Optimizing Postprandial Hyperglycemia in Patients with T2 Diabetes: A Review

Nutrients. 2020 May 27;12(6):1561. doi: 10.3390/nu12061561.


The increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) worldwide calls for effective approaches to its management. Strategies for diabetes have generally focused on optimizing overall glycemic control as assessed by glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and fasting plasma glucose (FPG) values. However, since 2001, the American Diabetes Association has established postprandial glucose (PPG) as an independent contributor to both HbA1c and diabetes complications, and increasing evidence suggests that all three glycemic parameters of HbA1c, FPG, and postprandial glucose (PPG) are independently important.

Objectives: The objective of this review was to comprehensively summarize the literature on the effects of nutritional strategies incorporating glycemic index (GI)/glycemic load (GL) on the postprandial hyperglycemia in people with T2D, as well as to provide recommendations for effective dietary strategies addressing both the dietary glycemic index and load in clinical practice.

Design: An advanced Pubmed search was conducted. A total of 10 randomized controlled studies met the inclusion criteria. Six studies compared low-GI with higher GI meals, three included studies that compared reduced carbohydrate content with higher carbohydrate content, and one study compared meals of low-GI (with high or low fiber) with meals of higher GI (with high or low fiber).

Results: Most of the clinical trials resulted in significant improvement (p < 0.05) of postprandial hyperglycemia. Conclusions: Either reducing the amount of carbohydrate in a meal or increasing consumption of soluble fiber has a favorable effect on postprandial glucose excursions.

Keywords: GI; GL; PPG; diabetes management; dietary strategies; glycemic index; glycemic load; postprandial hyperglycemia; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Glycemic Index*
  • Glycemic Load*
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / therapy*
  • Postprandial Period


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human