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Keywords:

  • Database;
  • dietary assessment;
  • dietary carbohydrates;
  • glycaemic index

Summary

There is growing evidence that the glycaemic index (GI) of the diet is important with respect to body weight and metabolic disease risk. However, research is limited by the paucity of GI values for commonly consumed carbohydrate-rich foods in European countries. A new methodology has been developed for consistent assignment of GI values to foods across five European databases used in the Diogenes intervention study. GI values were assigned according to five decreasing levels of confidence (1) Measured values for specific foods; (2) Published values from published sources; (3) Equivalent values where published values for similar foods existed; (4) Estimated values assigned as one of three values representing low/medium/high GI ranges and (5) Nominal values assigned as 70, where no other value could be assigned with sufficient confidence. GI values were assigned to 5105 foods. In food records collected at baseline, the contribution to carbohydrate intake of foods assigned levels 1–2 ranged from 16% to 43% depending on country, and this increased to 53–81% including level 3 foods. The degree of confidence to assigned GI values differed across Europe. This standardized approach of assigning GI values will be made available to other researchers to facilitate further investigation into the effects of dietary GI on health.