To see whether relative differences in the glycemic responses to different foods were similar in insulin-dependent (IDDM) and non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients (NIDDM) we determined the glycemic index (GI) of a total of 20 foods and mixed test meals in groups of IDDM and NIDDM volunteers. The mean GI values ranged from 32 in NIDDM and 41 in IDDM (pearled barley) to 105 in NIDDM and 111 in IDDM (bread with cheese and tomato). The correlation between the mean GI values in IDDM and NIDDM was highly significant (r = 0.927, p less than 0.001). The mean GI values for 15 of the 20 test meals was greater in IDDM than in NIDDM (mean of GI for all 20 foods, 76 in IDDM compared with 68 in NIDDM, p less than 0.005). However, the difference in GI between IDDM and NIDDM was t statistically significant for 19 of the 20 individual test meals. Greater within-individual variability of glycemic responses in IDDM probably accounts for the slightly greater mean GI value seen in IDDM compared with NIDDM. The addition of 32 g cheddar cheese to four foods which were also fed without cheese had no significant effect on the GI in NIDDM (mean GI of 68 without cheese compared with 72 for the meals with cheese), but had a small effect in IDDM where the mean GI was increased from 72 to 87 (p less than 0.05). However, despite small increases in glycemic response to foods with added cheese, the relative differences between foods were unaffected by the addition of cheese in both IDDM and NIDDM. It is concluded that mean GI values for foods are very similar in IDDM and NIDDM patients.