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Diabetes Update: Insulin Index

Number 27; December 14, 2001

By David Mendosa

This newsletter keeps you up-to-date with new articles, columns, and Web pages that I have written. I list and link most of these on my Diabetes Directory at

From time to time Diabetes Update may also include links to other Web pages of special interest.

My most recent contributions are:

Updates include:

  • Glycemic Index Testing
    It takes a lot of time and effort to determine the glycemic index of a food. Two of the world's leading researchers now do that testing for commercial firms that want to promote how low glycemic their foods are. They are Jennie Brand-Miller of the University of Sydney in Australia and Tom Wolever of the University of Toronto in Canada. The updated information is in the "Other Resources" section of

  • Insulin Index
    I have to admit that I never got around to uploading anything about the insulin index until now. The main study was "An Insulin Index of Foods: The Insulin Demand Generated by 1000-kJ Portions of Common Foods" in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1997, Vol. 66: pages 1264-1276 by Susanne HA Holt, Janette C. Brand Miller, and Peter Petocz. They tested only 38 foods and found that glycemic index and insulin index scores were highly correlated. There most interesting finding was that "protein-rich foods and bakery products (rich in fat and refined carbohydrate) elicited insulin responses that were disproportionately higher than their glycemic responses."

    Because Dr. Holt was the lead author of the insulin index study, I naturally thought of her when I started receiving questions about artificial sweeteners producing an insulin release. Some "authority" has apparently been making noises to that effect. Dr. Holt has also been researching the effects of sugar-free drinks on the satiety index, something that I reported here in the most recent issue of this newsletter.

    "There hasn't been a lot of research on the effects of most common foods on blood insulin levels, let alone artificial sweeteners and other common food ingredients," Dr. Holt replied to my message. "There have been a few papers published to show that nutrasweet (Aspartame) in the small doses typically ingested in diet sodas etc. do not raise blood glucose or insulin levels much at all. You are likely to get a bigger stimulus for insulin secretion from the other components in the foods, like sugar, fat, and protein."


    Mark your calendars for the next edition of Diabetes Forecast - Live! "Save Your Sight" Tuesday, December 18, at

    Diabetes Forecast - Live! is a monthly webcast brought to you by the American Diabetes Association and the HealthTalk Diabetes Education Network. Hear top experts discuss the advantages of tight blood sugar control, warning signs for retinopathy, and who you can call on to help with diabetic eye disease.


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