The myth that consuming fast carbs, such as white bread or soft drinks, is more likely to lead to weight gain and “promote fat storage and increase risk of obesity” was disproved by scientists in a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Advances in Nutrition.
To test the commonly-promoted theory, researchers, who noted that the glycemic index (GI) was introduced in 1981 “as a means to classify foods according to their effects on postprandial blood glucose” - or how quickly the body can break down the carbohydrates - analysed data on nearly 2million adults from 43 cohort studies.
Scientists also noted that the popular perception of the “superiority” of low-GI diets for weight loss and obesity prevention had already produced conflicting results in previous studies.
According to the new study, researchers found that, upon analysing prior data, there was “no consistent association between BMI, body mass index, and dietary GI”.
The study also found that, similarly, a low-GI diet generally does not support a case for greater weight loss, and that ultimately, “GI, as a measure of carbohydrate quality, appears to be relatively unimportant as a determinant of BMI or diet-induced weight loss”.
The findings were determined after 70 per cent of 27 studies analysed showed that individuals had either similar BMIs, or that BMI was lower in the groups with the highest GI, according to the study.
“Contrary to popular belief, those who consume a diet of high-GI foods are no more likely to be obese or gain weight than those who consume a diet of low-GI foods.
Furthermore, they are no less likely to lose weight,” Glenn Gaesser, one of the study’s co-authors and professor of exercise science at Arizona State University, said.
Ultimately, co-author Julie Miller Jones, a professor at St Catherine University, said that the study’s key takeaway is that “carbohydrates, regardless of type, can be part of a healthy diet and have a place on a healthy plate”.