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The Glucose Revolution:

The Authoritative Guide to the Glycemic Index By Jennie Brand Miller

Reviewed David Mendosa

Last Update: January 14, 2001

The first North American edition of the bible of glycemic index studies is finally coming to America. After two Australian editions and one in the United Kingdom, The G.I. Factor is being published in the United States.

The glycemic index is about carbohydrates.

With a new, jazzier title, the publisher, Marlowe & Company in New York, is coming out in July with The Glucose Revolution: The Authoritative Guide to the Glycemic Index. Although the book hasn't been published yet, I have read the galley proofs and am sure publication here will be important for anyone with diabetes.

This 304-page book will list for $14.95 ($23.00 Canadian). The North American co-author with Dr. Jennie Brand Miller and her team at the University of Sydney is Thomas M.S. Wolever, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Toronto, the world's other leading active glycemic index researcher.

The book includes more than 50 recipes and a glycemic index for 300 foods and beverages. The authors explain the benefits of a diet that emphasizes foods that are low on the glycemic index. These are foods that as they are digested produce a low, slow blood-sugar response.

The first printing will be 40,000 copies. The authors will make a six-city tour of New York, Washington, D.C., Toronto, San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

It was in April 1996 that Dr. Brand Miller, an associate professor and head of the teaching and research staff of the Human Nutrition Unit of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Sydney, published the landmark first edition of this book. Her co-authors were Kaye Foster-Powell, a dietitian and nutritionist, and Dr. Stephen Colagiuri, the director of the Diabetes Centre and head of the Department of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick, New South Wales, Australia.

The Glycemic Index Appears
Dr. David Jenkins, a professor of nutrition at the University of Toronto, Canada, first developed the concept of the glycemic index to help determine which foods were best for people with diabetes. His pathbreaking study, "Glycemic index of foods: a physiological basis for carbohydrate exchange," appeared in March 1981.

Subsequently hundreds of clinical studies in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada and Australia have proved the value of the glycemic index. The United States remains "one of the last bastions of opposition," according to Brand Miller. That's especially strange since Jenkins's original work and several subsequent studies, including some of Brand Miller's, appeared in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a publication of the American Society for Clinical Nutrition.

Jenkins went on to author at least 15 more clinical studies of the effects of the glycemic index. In recent years Brand Miller has begun to play the role as the leading advocate of the glycemic index. She has authored or co-authored more than 200 publications, including 50 on the glycemic index. Her "International tables of glycemic index," which appeared in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition was—before the publication of The G.I. Factor—the most authoritative compilation of knowledge of this important concept.

What It's All About
People with diabetes, athletes, and people who are overweight all stand to benefit from a knowledge of the glycemic index. But people with diabetes stand to benefit the most, partly because we have the most to gain from understanding and applying the concept to our daily lives.

The glycemic index is about carbohydrates. Fat and protein have little immediate effect on blood sugar. The problem is that even among the complex carbohydrates not all are created equal. Some break down quickly during digestion and can raise blood glucose to dangerous levels. These are the foods that have higher glycemic indexes. Other carbohydrates break down more slowly, releasing glucose gradually into our blood streams and are said to have lower glycemic indexes.

The Glucose Revolution is an authoritative guide to making use of this pathbreaking concept. Finally, it will be readily available in the United States. 

This article appeared originally on the Diabetes Digest site, but is no longer on-line there.

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