The glycaemic index (GI) is a food metric that ranks the acute impact of available (digestible) carbohydrates on blood glucose. At present, few countries regulate the inclusion of GI on food labels even though the information may assist consumers to manage blood glucose levels. Australia and New Zealand regulate GI claims as nutrition content claims and also recognize the GI Foundation's certified Low GI trademark as an endorsement. The GI Foundation of South Africa endorses foods with low, medium and high GI symbols. In Asia, Singapore's Healthier Choice Symbol has specific provisions for low GI claims. Low GI claims are also permitted on food labels in India. In China, there are no national regulations specific to GI; however, voluntary claims are permitted. In the USA, GI claims are not specifically regulated but are permitted, as they are deemed to fall under general food-labelling provisions. In Canada and the European Union, GI claims are not legal under current food law. Inconsistences in food regulation around the world undermine consumer and health professional confidence and call for harmonization. Global provisions for GI claims/endorsements in food standard codes would be in the best interests of people with diabetes and those at risk.
Keywords: diabetes; food labels; food regulation; glycaemic index.