High-Protein, Low-Glycemic-Index Diet Stops Weight Regain

And fewer people on this diet drop out of study than those in other groups

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 24 (HealthDay News) -- After weight loss, a maintenance diet higher in protein and with a modest reduction in the glycemic index prevents significant weight regain better than other diets, according to a study in the Nov. 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Thomas Meinert Larsen, Ph.D., of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and colleagues enrolled overweight adults from eight European countries who had lost 8 percent or more of their body weight (mean weight loss, 11.0 kg) on a low-calorie diet. To prevent weight regain over a 26-week period, 773 subjects were assigned to one of five diets: a low-protein and low-glycemic-index diet, a low-protein and high-glycemic-index diet, a high-protein and low-glycemic-index diet, a high-protein and high-glycemic-index diet, or a control diet.

A total of 548 subjects completed the study. The researchers found that only the low-protein/high-glycemic-index diet was associated with significant weight regain (mean 1.67 kg), while the high-protein/low-glycemic-index diet resulted in further small weight loss (mean −0.38 kg). The weight regain was 0.93 kg less in the groups on a high-protein diet than in the groups on a low-protein diet and 0.95 kg less in the groups on a low-glycemic-index diet than in the groups on a high-glycemic-index diet. Also, fewer subjects dropped out of the high-protein and low-glycemic-index groups.

"In this large European study, a modest increase in protein content and a modest reduction in the glycemic index led to an improvement in study completion and maintenance of weight loss," the authors write.

Study authors disclosed financial ties to food, medical device, and pharmaceutical companies.

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