More favorable dietary patterns are associated with lower glycemic load in older adults

Melissa S. Davis, Carla K. Miller, Diane C. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Glycemic load represents the total glycemic effect of the diet and may reduce the risk for chronic disease by affecting the risk for obesity and by altering metabolic endpoints. The food choices associated with lower-glycemic-load diets have received little investigation. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to examine the food patterns associated with lower-glycemic-load diets to establish targeted intervention messages. A random sample (n=179; 81 male and 98 female subjects) of older adults <65 years of age in the Geisinger Rural Aging study, a nutritional risk screening study. Standardized methodology was used to calculate the glycemic load from data obtained in five 24-hour recalls. t tests compared dietary patterns between male and female subjects from two eating pattern clusters identified in previous cluster analysis based on food group intake. The mean (±standard deviation) glycemic load for the entire sample was 115.6 (±39.9). Two clusters were identified, and male and female subjects in one cluster had a lower glycemic load (113.7±44.2 and 94.0±27.5, respectively) than male and female subjects in the second cluster (139.9±38.8 and 110.7±35.9, respectively) (P<.01). Participants in the lower-glycemic-load cluster consumed more carbohydrate from cereal, fruits, vegetables, and milk, whereas those in the higher-glycemic-load cluster consumed more breads and desserts. Promoting appropriate portions of nutrient-dense carbohydrate foods, particularly whole grain, fruits, vegetables, and dairy foods, may offer reasonable guidance for lowering the glycemic load of the diet among older adults. A lower-glycemic-load diet may reduce the risk for obesity and many chronic diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1828-1835
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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