Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Mastication effects on the glycaemic index: impact on variability and practical implications



Glycaemic variability challenges the accuracy and use of the glycaemic index (GI). The purpose of the current study was to determine the role of mastication on GI. Using a randomized, controlled, crossover, non-blind design, 15 healthy young subjects returned on 5 separate days for three glucose and two rice test sessions. At the rice sessions, subjects chewed each mouthful either 15 or 30 times. Rice chewed 15 times produced a total glycaemic response (GR; 155 mmol min/l), peak GR (2.4 mmol/l) and GI (68) significantly lower than when chewed for longer (30 times) (184 mmol min/l, 2.8 mmol/l and 88, respectively). The study shows that the GI of rice is affected by the degree of mastication. Chewing 15 times compared with 30 times significantly attenuates the GI, suggesting that mastication may potentially contribute to the glycaemic variability of rice. While future work must establish the extent and limits to which mastication affects glycaemia, it could also explore the potential of using mastication to reduce the glycaemic load of rice.

Your institute does not have access to this article

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1


  1. Vega-Lopez S, Ausman LM, Griffith JL, Lichtenstein AH . Interindividual variability and intra-individual reproducibility of glycemic index values for commercial white bread. Diabetes Care 2007; 30: 1412–1417.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Ranawana V, Henry CJK . Liquid and solid carbohydrate foods: comparative effects on glycemic and insulin responses, and satiety. Int J Food Sci Nutr 2011; 62: 71–81.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Ranawana V, Henry CJ, Pratt M . Degree of habitual mastication seems to contribute to interindividual variations in the glycemic response to rice but not to spaghetti. Nutr Res 2010; 30: 382–391.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Ranawana V, Monro JA, Mishra S, Henry CJ . Degree of particle size breakdown during mastication may be a possible cause of interindividual glycemic variability. Nutr Res 2010; 30: 246–254.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Brouns F, Bjorck I, Frayn KN, Gibbs AL, Lang V, Slama G et al. Glycaemic index methodology. Nutr Res Rev 2005; 18: 145–171.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. ISO 26642-2010. Food products- determination of the glycaemic index (GI) and recommendation for food classification (2010).

  7. Brown WE . Method to investigate differences in chewing behavior in humans: I. Use of electromyography in measuring chewing. J Texture Stud 1994; 25: 1–16.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. FAO/WHO. Carbohydrates in human nutrition- Report of a joint FAO/WHO expert consultation. Food and Agriculture Organisation: Rome, 1998.

  9. Wolever TM, Brand-Miller JC, Abernethy J, Astrup A, Atkinson F, Axelsen M et al. Measuring the glycemic index of foods: interlaboratory study. Am J Clin Nutr 2008; 87: 247S–257SS.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Childs N, Burdett A . The US rice export market. Rice Situation and Outlook Yearbook 2000, (RCS-2000): 48–54.

  11. Wolever TMS. The Glycemic Index: a physiological classification of dietary carbohydrate. CABI: Wallingford, 2006.

  12. Ranawana V, Henry CJ . Liquid and solid carbohydrate foods: comparative effects on glycemic and insulin responses, and satiety. Int J Food Sci Nutr 2011; 62: 71–81.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Chan JC, Malik V, Jia W, Kadowaki T, Yajnik CS, Yoon KH et al. Diabetes in Asia: epidemiology, risk factors, and pathophysiology. JAMA 2009; 301: 2129–2140.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Hu EA, Pan A, Malik V, Sun Q . White rice consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: meta-analysis and systematic review. Br Med J 2012; 344: e1454.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


This study was supported by the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences. We are grateful to Julieana Binte Ibrahim for her help with carrying out the study. VR conducted the research and wrote the paper. ML and JH facilitated the study, contributed to the discussion and reviewed the manuscript.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to V Ranawana.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ranawana, V., Leow, MS. & Henry, C. Mastication effects on the glycaemic index: impact on variability and practical implications. Eur J Clin Nutr 68, 137–139 (2014).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • carbohydrate
  • rice
  • glycaemic response
  • glycaemic index
  • mastication
  • chewing

Further reading


Quick links