Low-glycemic index carbohydrates: An effective behavioral change for glycemic control and weight management in patients with type 1 and 2 diabetes

Johanna Burani, Palma J. Longo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations


Purpose: This retrospective study evaluated the incorporation of low-glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates into daily meal planning as an effective behavioral lifestyle change to improve glycemic control and weight management in patients with type 1 and 2 diabetes. Methods: Twenty-one subjects participated in this study. All office visits and interview sessions took place in a 2-physician private medical practice setting in Wayne, New Jersey. Patients' pre- and postcounseling HbA1c and body mass index (BMI) values and their antidiabetic medication dosages were recorded. Audiotaped interviews were conducted using the 10-question Glycemic Index Foods Quiz (GIFQ) and the 29-question Interview Questionnaire (IQ). The GI values of pre- and postcounseling meals were calculated. Assessment was based on triangulating the subjects' adherence to the low-GI carbohydrate behavioral change and the primary outcome measures: HbA1c and BMI. Results: Low-GI medical nutrition therapy (LGI-MNT) counseling reduced HbA1c by 19% (mean drop of 1.5 U) and decreased BMI by 8% (mean loss of 17 pounds). This was accomplished by the participants independently lowering the GI values of their meals by 25% (mean reduction of 15 points). Results were achieved over a time frame of 3 to 36 months from the initial LGI-MNT counseling session. Conclusions: Daily incorporation of low-GI carbohydrates in meal planning can be an effective diabetes self-management strategy for glycemic control and weight management. The documented responses to the subjects' conceptual and practical knowledge of the GI confirm their acceptance of this approach as a permanent behavioral lifestyle change and not a "diet." The positive results of this study attest to what worked for these subjects, inviting diabetes educators to consider offering low-GI dietary advice to their diabetes patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-88
Number of pages11
JournalDiabetes Educator
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)

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