Low glycemic diet better for obese teens

August 13, 2003 in Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News, Weight Management

Low glycemic diet better for obese teens

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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