Public Health Nutrition

Research Paper

Relationship of glycaemic index with cardiovascular risk factors: analysis of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey for people aged 65 and older

Joanne E Miltona1, Blandine Brichea2, Ian J Browna3, Mary Hicksona1, Claire E Robertsona3a4 and Gary S Frosta5 c1

a1 Nutrition and Dietetic Research Group, Hammersmith Hospital, Du Cane Road, London, W12 0HS, UK

a2 Institut National Agronomique Paris-Grignon, 16 rue Claude Bernard, F-75231 Paris, France

a3 Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, Imperial College London, St Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, London, W2 1PG, UK

a4 Department of Human and Health Sciences, School of Biosciences, University of Westminster, Cavendish Campus, 115 New Cavendish Street, London, W1W 6UW, UK

a5 School of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, University of Surrey, Guilford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, UK


Objective To identify associations between dietary glycaemic index (GI) and weight, body mass index and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) – waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), lipoprotein fractions, triacylglycerols (TAG) and blood pressure (BP) – in an older British population.

Design Cross-sectional dietary, anthropometric and biochemical data from the National Diet and Nutritional Survey for adults aged over 65 years were reanalysed using a hierarchical regression model. Associations between body weight, CVD risk factors, and dietary factors including GI and fibre intakes were explored among 1152 healthy older people living in the UK between 1994 and 1995.

Results In the unadjusted model, GI was significantly and directly associated with TAG (β = 0.008 ± 0.003) and diastolic BP (β = 0.325 ± 0.164) in males. These relationships were attenuated and non-significant after adjustment for potential confounding factors. WHR (β = 0.003 ± 0.001) and TAG (β = 0.005 ± 0.002) were significantly predicted by GI in males and females combined. The association with WHR was attenuated by adjustment for sex, age, region and social class; the relationship with TAG was non-significant after adjustment for other potential dietary confounders.

Conclusion After controlling for potential confounders, no clear links were detected between GI and body weight or other CVD risk factors. This study provides little evidence for advising the consumption of a low-GI diet in the elderly to prevent weight gain or improve other CVD risk factors.

(Received September 26 2006)

(Accepted January 17 2007)

(Online publication April 24 2007)


c1 Corresponding author: Email