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MANUZZA, Marcela Alejandra; BRITO, Graciela; ECHEGARAY, Natalia Soledad  and  LOPEZ, Laura Beatriz. Glycemic index and glycemic load: their value in treatment and prevention of noncommunicable chronic diseases. Diaeta [online]. 2018, vol.36, n.162, pp.29-38. ISSN 1852-7337.

Introduction: dietary pattern determines the prevention and control of noncommunicable chronic diseases (NCDs) of increasing prevalence: obesity, overweight, insulin resistance, cancer and cardiovascular diseases (CVD). The quantity and quality of carbohydrates (CHO) affect postprandial levels of insulin and glycemia, that trigger off physiopathological mechanisms involved in NCDs. The Glycemic Index (GI), a tool to classify foods according to the type of CHO, together with the Glycemic Load (GL) that considers the amount of CHO, to predict its effects on postprandial glycemia, were initially limited to diet therapy in diabetes. Today, knowledge about the effects of different CHOs in NCDs has been expanded to the general population as a tool to select foods. There is growing consensus about benefits in the prevention of NCDs; considering some limitations, as not taking into account insulin response, intra and interindividual variation in glycemic response (GR) and difficulty to estimate GI in mixed meals. Even so, it is argued that in order to make healthy food choices, it is important to consider the chemical composition and physiological effects of CHO, because, on its own, the chemical nature of food CHO does not describe its physiological effects. Objectives: to carry out an update on the assessment that the international scientific community gives to IG and CG, and its usefulness in the management of NCDs. Conclusion: GI and GC are currently considered high-value indicators to categorize the quality and quantity of dietary CHO, given that their associated effects in different magnitudes are recognized to the risk of obesity, CVD and cancer. In addition to its educational use to stimulate healthy habits, their epidemiological uses are frequent, allowing to identify foods and food patterns with high and low RG, identifying population feeding patterns. The scarcity of GI data in typical preparations of national and regional dietary patterns promotes the need to develop local research on the subject.

Keywords : Glycemic index; Glycemic load; Cardiovascular disease; Diabetes; Obesity; Cancer.

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