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More Protein, Fewer Refined Carbs May Keep Weight Off
Date:11/25/2010

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 24 (HealthDay News) -- If you've worked hard to shed those extra pounds and want to keep the weight off, a new Danish study suggests that you consider eating more protein and fewer refined carbohydrates.

Based on the findings, the researchers advise consuming mostly what's known as low-glycemic index carbohydrates, such as whole-grain breads. The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of the ability of carbohydrates to increase blood glucose levels; those with a low GI cause blood levels to increase more slowly, explained Dr. Thomas Meinert Larsen, a co-author of the study, published in the Nov. 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

What is it about the high-protein, low-glycemic index carbohydrate diet that keeps weight under control? "Possibly a stronger satiating effect and more balanced blood sugar regulation," Larsen hypothesized.

With his colleagues, Larsen evaluated 938 adults with an average body-mass index (BMI) of 34, which is considered obese. In all, 773 completed the initial weight-loss phase and then were assigned to one of five different maintenance plans:

  • Low-protein diet, (13% of energy) with a high GI
  • Low protein, low GI diet
  • High protein (25% of energy), low GI diet
  • High protein, high GI diet
  • Control group, which got no special instructions

During the weight-loss period of eight weeks, participants lost an average of 24 pounds. All five maintenance diets had a moderate fat content, about 25 percent to 30 percent of total calories. After six months, Larsen's team found that the 548 who completed the program had an average weight regain of 1.2 pounds.

Those in the low-protein/high-GI group showed the worst results, the researchers found, with a weight gain averaging 3.6 pounds. Those on the low-GI diet had an average weight regain of 2 pounds less than those
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