Carbohydrate-Modified Diets As Effective As Portion-Controlled

For obese children, low carb and reduced glycemic load effective, but lower adherence to low carb

TUESDAY, March 20 (HealthDay News) -- Low carbohydrate (LC) and reduced glycemic load (RGL) diets are as effective as a standard portion-controlled (PC) diet for weight management in children; however, the low-carbohydrate diet is the hardest for children to follow, according to research published online March 1 in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Shelley Kirk, Ph.D., R.D., of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial involving 100 obese children aged 7 to 12 years who were assigned to follow either a LC, RGL, or standard PC diet. During the first three months, children received weekly dietary counseling and group exercise sessions. Dietary adherence, weight, body mass index, and other measures were assessed at three, six, and 12 months.

At three months, the researchers found that, compared with baseline, body mass index z score, waist circumference, and percent body fat were lower for children assigned to each of the three diets, and these reductions were maintained at the six-month assessment. In the 83 percent of children assessed at 12 months, body mass index z scores and body fat remained lower but reductions in waist circumference were not maintained. While children on all three diets showed consistently lower daily caloric intakes, adherence to the LC diet was lowest.

"Diets with modified carbohydrate intake were as effective as a PC diet for weight management in obese children. However, the lower adherence to the LC diet suggests that this regimen is more difficult for children to follow, particularly in the long term," the authors write.

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