The results of a small study suggest that a diet that reduces blood sugar (glucose), a "reduced-glycemic load diet," is an effective alternative to a conventional low-fat diet in the treatment of adolescent obesity. The rate of type 2 diabetes increases markedly for obese children after puberty.
Boston researchers compared the effects of a reduced-glycemic load diet versus those of a calorie-restricted, reduced-fat diet in 16 obese adolescents. In the reduced-glycemic load group, 45 to 50 percent of calories came from carbohydrates and 30 to 35 percent from fat. In the low-fat group, the corresponding proportions were 55 to 60 percent, and 25 to 30 percent. Seven-day food diaries were used at the start of the study, during the intervention period and at the end of the trial.
Fourteen subjects completed the 12-month study. After one year, body mass index--a ratio of height and weight--and fat mass had decreased significantly more in the reduced-glycemic load group than the conventional group. And there was no weight regain between 6 and 12 months for the reduced-glycemic load group.
The team acknowledges that the findings are preliminary, and call for larger trials "to evaluate the effectiveness and public health applications of reduced-glycemic load and -glycemic index diets."
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