JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Comparison of 4 diets of varying glycemic load on weight loss and cardiovascular risk reduction in overweight and obese young adults: a randomized controlled trial

Joanna McMillan-Price, Peter Petocz, Fiona Atkinson, Kathleen O'neill, Samir Samman, Katherine Steinbeck, Ian Caterson, Jennie Brand-Miller
Archives of Internal Medicine 2006 July 24, 166 (14): 1466-75
16864756

BACKGROUND: Despite the popularity of low-glycemic index (GI) and high-protein diets, to our knowledge no randomized, controlled trials have systematically compared their relative effects on weight loss and cardiovascular risk.

METHODS: A total of 129 overweight or obese young adults (body mass index, > or =25 [calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters]) were assigned to 1 of 4 reduced-fat, high-fiber diets for 12 weeks. Diets 1 and 2 were high carbohydrate (55% of total energy intake), with high and low GIs, respectively; diets 3 and 4 were high protein (25% of total energy intake), with high and low GIs, respectively. The glycemic load was highest in diet 1 and lowest in diet 4. Changes in weight, body composition, and blood chemistry profile were studied.

RESULTS: While all groups lost a similar mean +/- SE percentage of weight (diet 1, -4.2% +/- 0.6%; diet 2, -5.5% +/- 0.5%; diet 3, -6.2% +/- 0.4%; and diet 4, -4.8% +/- 0.7%; P = .09), the proportion of subjects in each group who lost 5% or more of body weight varied significantly by diet (diet 1, 31%; diet 2, 56%; diet 3, 66%; and diet 4, 33%; P = .01). Women on diets 2 and 3 lost approximately 80% more fat mass (-4.5 +/- 0.5 [mean +/- SE] kg and -4.6 +/- 0.5 kg) than those on diet 1 (-2.5 +/- 0.5 kg; P = .007). Mean +/- SE low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol levels declined significantly in the diet 2 group (-6.6 +/- 3.9 mg/dL [-0.17 +/- 0.10 mmol/L]) but increased in the diet 3 group (+10.0 +/- 3.9 mg/dL [+0.26 +/- 0.10 mmol/L]; P = .02). Goals for energy distribution were not achieved exactly: both carbohydrate groups ate less fat, and the diet 2 group ate more fiber.

CONCLUSION: Both high-protein and low-GI regimens increase body fat loss, but cardiovascular risk reduction is optimized by a high-carbohydrate, low-GI diet.

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