Low glycemic index: lente carbohydrates and physiological effects of altered food frequency

Am J Clin Nutr. 1994 Mar;59(3 Suppl):706S-709S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/59.3.706S.


Many factors influence carbohydrate absorption. Slower rates of absorption may have advantages in reducing postprandial glycemia and insulinemia and, in time, reduce serum low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and apolipoprotein B concentrations. Foods high in viscous fiber or antinutrients, or foods that are resistant to gelatinization, show slower rates of digestion and absorption and may be called low glycemic index or lente carbohydrate foods. Specific enzyme inhibitors may also cause lente effects. Certain small-intestinal effects of lente carbohydrate may be mimicked by altering feeding frequency (eg, nibbling vs gorging). Increased meal frequency reduces post-prandial insulin and glucose responses in people with non-insulin-dependent diabetes and in nondiabetic volunteers and lowers serum concentrations of LDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B. Reduced hepatic cholesterol synthesis has been reported. Increased meal frequency may also slow small-intestinal absorption in the treatment of conditions such as diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and possibly obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose
  • Diabetes Mellitus / diet therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism*
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Obesity / metabolism


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates