Issue: March 2011
March 01, 2011
1 min read

Weight maintenance achieved with high-protein, low-glycemic-index diet

Larsen TM. N Engl J Med. 2010;363:2102-2113.

Issue: March 2011
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A modest increase in protein intake and decrease in glycemic index led to maintained weight loss, according to data from a European study.

The study enrolled 938 adults from eight European countries who had lost at least 8% of their initial body weight by adhering to an 800-kcal diet. Researchers randomly assigned 773 participants in a two-by-two factorial fashion to one of five diets: low protein and low glycemic index; low protein and high glycemic index; high protein and low glycemic index; high protein and high glycemic index or a control diet. The purpose of the diet was to maintain weight for 26 weeks.

Seventy-one percent of participants enrolled finished the 26-week diet. Compared with the low-protein/high-glycemic-index group, fewer patients in the high-protein and low-glycemic-index groups dropped out of the study (37.4% vs. 26.4% and 25.6%, respectively). Mean initial weight loss was 11 kg.

Among those who completed the study, the only diet associated with significant weight gain was the low-protein/high-glycemic-index diet (1.67 kg; 95% CI, 0.48-2.87). Data from an intent-to-treat analysis revealed that a high-protein diet was associated with a 0.93-kg less weight gain compared with a low-protein diet (P=.003). Similarly, a low-glycemic-index diet was associated with a 0.95-kg less weight gain compared with a high-glycemic-index diet (P=.003).

According to the researchers, there was no significant difference in diet-related adverse events among groups.

“[A] diet that was moderately high in protein content and slightly reduced in glycemic index improved the rate of completion of the intervention and maintenance of weight loss and therefore appears to be ideal for the prevention of weight regain,” the researchers wrote.

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