High glycemic index foods are not associated with increased hunger

For weight loss, the claim that high GI foods are to be avoided arises because increases in blood glucose and insulin results in a subsequent crash of blood glucose supposedly increasing hunger. Evidence exists to support this claim; however, one meta-analysis would describe that the GI of a meal does not affect subsequent energy intake (1).

A publication by Holt et al. 1995 sought to determine a satiety index of common foods. Satiety scores were determined as a percentage of white bread over the course of 120 minutes (2). Thus, 38 different foods belonging to 6 different food groups in isoenergetic quantities (240kcal) were compared for effects on blood glucose, insulin and satiety. Looking at two foods in particular, whole meal bread and white potatoes, satiety scores were determined as ~160% and ~310%, respectively (2). Moreover, 240kcal of peanuts with a GI of 13 (3) elicited a satiety rating of ~90%.

Given the original claim, foods with a similar GI and carbohydrate quantity should not display a substantial difference in satiety. More importantly, a food with a GI of 13 (i.e. peanuts) should not leave an individual feeling less full than an isoenergetic serving of potatoes with a GI of 60. It was also observed that, in general, total carbohydrates and starch did not correlate with satiety (2).

With the absence of any correlation between GI and hunger; protein, fibre, water content and the volume of food appears to correlate best with satiety. So instead of avoiding your favorite carbohydrate-rich foods, eat a healthy mixed diet with lots of high-volume, water-concentrated, protein-rich and fibrous food to better achieve your goals!

Content provided by @stevieinonstagram, part of #teamEBT, with a Bachelor’s of Food Science and Nutrition and a Master’s of Biochemistry.


1. Sun F. Effect of Glycemic Index of Breakfast on Energy Intake at Subsequent Meal among Healthy People: A Meta-Analysis.Nutrients.2016.8.37.1-14.
2. Holt S. H. A Satiety Index of Common Foods. Eur J Clin Nutr.1995.49.9.675-90.
3. Foster-Powell K. International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002. Am J Clin Nutr.2002.76.5-56.

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