Low glycaemic index and low glycaemic load diets effective for diabetes mellitus

Clinical question: 
How effective are low glycaemic index and low glycaemic load diets for glycaemic control in diabetes mellitus?
Bottom line: 
In adults and children, metabolic control (measured by glycated haemoglobin A1c [HbA1c]) decreased by 0.5% with a low glycaemic index diet, which is both statistically and clinically significant. Hypoglycaemic episodes significantly decreased with a low glycaemic index diet compared to a high glycaemic index diet. All interventions lasted for at least 4 weeks, and the longest trial was 12 months.
Some methodological limitations were present, such as failure to conceal allocation and lack of reporting on blinding of outcome assessors. No study reported on mortality, morbidity or costs.
The aim of diabetes management is to normalise blood glucose levels, since improved blood glucose control is associated with reduction in development, and progression, of complications. Nutritional factors affect blood glucose levels; however, there is currently no universal approach to the optimal dietary treatment for diabetes. There is controversy about how useful the glycaemic index is in diabetic meal planning. Improved glycaemic control through diet could minimise medications, lessen risk of diabetic complications, improve quality of life and increase life expectancy.
Review CD#: 
April, 2009
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy