Carbohydrate Nutrition Group

Understanding how dietary carbohydrates affect health and disease

Our work focuses on all aspects of carbohydrates including diet and diabetes, the glycemic index and insulin resistance.

We seek to appreciate the role of dietary carbohydrates (quality and quantity) in health and disease. Our findings directly impact the prevention and management of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

We study the human diet, particularly carbohydrate nutrition in health and disease. Our work is internationally recognised for its exploration of the nutritional aspects of food carbohydrates.

Our work has contributed to the incorporation of the glycemic index (GI: a measure of the glycemic effect of carbohydrates) into dietary guidelines for people with diabetes around the world. It’s encouraged food manufacturers to consider carbohydrate quality and the glycemic index in food formulation and labelling.

Our research has also culminated in a food endorsement program and a University of Sydney not-for-profit, The GI Foundation. This health promotion charity provides information and tools to raise awareness and improve people’s health through low GI healthy eating principles. Its key area of focus is for those living with diabetes and people at risk of diabetes.

The PREVIEW study

An international diabetes prevention study comparing diets of different composition and physical activity intensity on individuals with pre-diabetes developing Type 2 diabetes.   

The AMY1 study

Exploring the physiological role of AMY1 gene copy number in health and disease. The AMY1 gene produces salivary amylase, the enzyme that digests starch in food. Uniquely, this gene occurs in varying copy number (from 2 to 18) in humans, but not in any other primate. We’ve demonstrated that people with a higher copy can digest starch faster and more efficiently. They also experience greater satisfaction after consuming starchy foods.

The role of carbohydrates in the diets of women with gestational diabetes 

In some studies, low GI diets in pregnancy are associated with less glycemic variability and an optimal birth weight for their offspring. We’ve found that babies born to mothers who consumed low GI diets had better cardiovascular health at 12 months of age (link with Baby 1000 study).

  • Professor Jennie Brand-Miller, Science, University of Sydney (Research group lead)
  • Dr Fiona Atkinson, Science, University of Sydney
  • Dr Kirstine Bell, Science, University of Sydney
  • Dr Roslyn Muirhead
  • Dr Glynis Ross
  • Ms Shannon Brodie
  • Courtney Wright
  • Ms Stephanie Yong
  • Ms Karen Lau
  • Ms Peta Eggins
  • Ms Michelle Garrido Mettifogo

PhD students

  • Ms Jovana Mijatovic, Science, University of Sydney
  • Ms Natasha Armaghanian
  • Ms Shannon Lin

Read more on the Glycemic Index website and through the Glycemic Index Foundation.

Research group leader

Professor Jennie Brand-Miller
Professor Jennie Brand-Miller
“Our work has improved the quality of life and metabolic control for people with diabetes and obesity.”
View Jennie Brand-Miller's profile