Impact of Postprandial Glycaemia on Health and Prevention of Disease

Obesity Reviews. 2012;13(10):923-984

This review addresses the role of postprandial metabolism in healthy people, the relationships between postprandial outcomes and specific health outcomes, and the physiological relevance of biomarker changes. Also, specific focus will be given to the effect of meal frequency, including the impact of previous meals on the postprandial responses of the following meals. Postprandial glucose, together with related hyperinsulinemia and lipidaemia, has been implicated in the development of chronic metabolic diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). In this review, available evidence is discussed on postprandial glucose in relation to body weight control, the development of oxidative stress, T2DM, and CVD and in maintaining optimal exercise and cognitive performance. There is mechanistic evidence linking postprandial glycaemia or glycaemic variability to the development of these conditions or in the impairment in cognitive and exercise performance. Nevertheless, postprandial glycaemia is interrelated with many other (risk) factors as well as to fasting glucose. In many studies, meal-related glycaemic response is not sufficiently characterized, or the methodology with respect to the description of food or meal composition, or the duration of the measurement of postprandial glycaemia is limited. It is evident that more randomized controlled dietary intervention trials using effective low vs. high glucose response diets are necessary in order to draw more definite conclusions on the role of postprandial glycaemia in relation to health and disease. Also of importance is the evaluation of the potential role of the time course of postprandial glycaemia.

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