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Objectives:To investigate whether dietary glycaemic index (GI) and glycaemic load (GL) were associated with subsequent weight and waist circumference change.Design:Population-based prospective cohort study.Setting:Five European countries, which are Denmark, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom.Participants:A total of 89 432 participants, aged 20-78 years (mean 53 years) at baseline and followed for 1.9-12.5 years (mean6.5 years). All participants were free of self-reported cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes at baseline.Methods:Glycaemic index and GL were calculated on the basis of dietary intake assessed by food frequency questionnaires and by using a GI table developed for this study with published GI values as the main sources. Anthropometric data were collected both at baseline and at the end of follow-up. Multiple linear regression analyses were conducted in each centre and random-effect meta-analyses were used to combine the effects. Adjustment was made for baseline anthropometrics, demographic and lifestyle factors, follow-up duration and other dietary factors.Results:Mean GI and GL were 57 and 134, respectively. Associations of GI and GL with subsequent changes of weight and waist circumference were heterogeneous across centres. Overall, with every 10-unit higher in GI, weight increased by 34 g per year (95% confidence interval (CI): 47, 115) and waist circumference increased by 0.19 cm per year (95% CI: 0.11, 0.27). With every 50-unit higher in GL, weight increased by 10 g per year (95% CI: 65, 85) and waist circumference increased by 0.06 cm per year (95% CI: 0.01, 0.13).Conclusions:Our findings do not support an effect of GI or GL on weight change. The positively significant association between GI, not GL, and subsequent gain in waist circumference may imply a beneficial role of lower GI diets in the prevention of abdominal obesity. However, further studies are needed to confirm this finding given the small effect observed in this study. © 2009 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.

Original publication




Journal article


International Journal of Obesity

Publication Date





1280 - 1288