Friday, November 13, 2020

High Protein/Low Glycemic Diets And Weight Maintenance

The glycemic index and the percentage of dietary protein have previously been shown to be important factors when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off. An interesting older study that I recently came across examined the influence of protein and glycemic index on weight maintenance.

The Article

In this investigation, 773 subjects lost 8% of their initial body weight by following a low-calorie diet (Reference 1). Subjects were then randomized to one of five diets for 6 months:

High protein, Low Glycemic Index

High protein, High Glycemic Index

Low Protein, Low Glycemic Index

Low Protein, High Glycemic Index

A Control Diet.

Here are some of the most important results:

-The dieters that included a high protein component regained significantly less weight (over 2 lbs.) when compared to the diets with a low protein component.

-The dieters that included a low glycemic component regained significantly less weight (also over 2 lbs.) when compared to diets with a high glycemic index.

-Only the low protein/high glycemic group was associated with significant weight regain. They gained back 3.7 pounds.

-There was more dropout in the low protein and high glycemic index groups than in the high protein and low glycemic index groups.

Conclusions And Recommendations

Adding in a little protein and keeping your carbohydrates low glycemic can be a real boost to your weight loss efforts. Shoot for your protein to be 20-25% of calories. This is a practical and healthy level for you to shoot for. 

As far as glycemic index, focus on carbs like fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains instead of bread, pasta, white rice and sugar. 

These eating styles also resulted in less drop out in this particular study so they will make your diet easier to stay on.


1) Larsen TM, et al. Diets with high or low protein content and glycemic index for weight loss maintenance. New England Journal of Medicine 2010 363 2102-13.

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