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Dietary glycemic load, whole grains, and systemic inflammation in diabetes: the epidemiological evidence

Qi, Lua,c; Hu, Frank Ba,b,c

Current Opinion in Lipidology: February 2007 - Volume 18 - Issue 1 - p 3–8
doi: 10.1097/MOL.0b013e328011c6e0
Nutrition and metabolism

Purpose of review The aim of this article is to present recent findings from epidemiological studies on the effects of dietary glycemic load and whole grain foods on systemic inflammation in diabetic patients and to postulate potential mechanisms.

Recent findings Diets low in glycemic index/load or high in whole grain products have been associated with decreased concentrations of inflammatory markers and increased adiponectin levels among diabetic patients. These associations appear to be independent of body weight, glycemic control, and other cardiovascular risk factors. The protective effects of low glycemic load and high whole grains on systemic inflammation may be explained, in part, by reduction in hyperglycemia-induced overproduction of oxidative stress and by amelioration in insulin resistance, adiposity, dyslipidemia, and hypertension.

Summary Diets low in glycemic load and high in whole grains may have a protective effect against systemic inflammation in diabetic patients. Such diets can be recommended to diabetic patients for the prevention of cardiovascular complications.

aDepartment of Nutrition

bDepartment of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health

cChanning Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Correspondence to Dr Lu Qi, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA Tel: +1 617 432 4116; fax: +1 617 432 2435; e-mails:,

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.