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J Nutr. 2005 Oct;135(10):2387-91.

Reduced glycemic index and glycemic load diets do not increase the effects of energy restriction on weight loss and insulin sensitivity in obese men and women.

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General Clinical Research Center, Department of Medicine, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.


Reducing the dietary glycemic load and the glycemic index was proposed as a novel approach to weight reduction. A parallel-design, randomized 12-wk controlled feeding trial with a 24-wk follow-up phase was conducted to test the hypothesis that a hypocaloric diet designed to reduce the glycemic load and the glycemic index would result in greater sustained weight loss than other hypocaloric diets. Obese subjects (n = 29) were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 diets providing 3138 kJ less than estimated energy needs: high glycemic index (HGI), low glycemic index (LGI), or high fat (HF). For the first 12 wk, all food was provided to subjects (feeding phase). Subjects (n = 22) were instructed to follow the assigned diet for 24 additional weeks (free-living phase). Total body weight was obtained and body composition was assessed by skinfold measurements. Insulin sensitivity was assessed by the homeostasis model (HOMA). At 12 wk, weight changes from baseline were significant in all groups but not different among groups (-9.3 +/- 1.3 kg for the HGI diet, -9.9 +/- 1.4 kg for the LGI diet, and -8.4 +/- 1.5 kg for the HF diet). All groups improved in insulin sensitivity at the end of the feeding phase of the study. During the free-living phase, all groups maintained their initial weight loss and their improved insulin sensitivity. Weight loss and improved insulin sensitivity scores were independent of diet composition. In summary, lowering the glycemic load and glycemic index of weight reduction diets does not provide any added benefit to energy restriction in promoting weight loss in obese subjects.

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