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J Am Coll Nutr. 2014;33(5):375-84. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2013.875441. Epub 2014 Oct 10.

Potatoes, glycemic index, and weight loss in free-living individuals: practical implications.

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a Department of Nutrition , University of California , Davis , California .



The role of glycemic index (GI) and foods with negative attributes related to GI as part of a weight loss regimen has not been thoroughly assessed in free-living individuals. This study examined the effects of a dietary prescription for energy intake modification, GI, and potato consumption on weight loss, dietary prescription adherence, body composition, and glucose control in a free-living, self-selecting overweight population.


Ninety overweight (body mass index [BMI] 29.6 ± 3.9) men and women were randomly assigned to one of 3 groups for 12 weeks. Two groups were counseled to reduce their energy intake by 500 kcal/day and consume diets that were predominantly composed of either low- or high-GI foods (low glycemic index energy reduced [LGI-ER] or high glycemic index energy reduced [HGI-ER] diet, respectively). The third group received no energy restriction, GI provision, or nutritional counseling. All groups were instructed to consume 5-7 servings of potatoes per week. Changes in weight, body composition, glucose tolerance, and triglycerides were determined at baseline and 12 weeks.


There were no significant differences in weight loss or changes in body composition between the groups; however, modest weight loss and body composition changes were seen from week 0 to week 12 for all groups (p < 0.05). Difficulty achieving the prescribed GI diets was evident in this free-living setting. There were no significant changes within or among treatments for fasting concentrations of triglycerides, glucose tolerance, insulin, or insulin sensitivity.


The results indicate that in a free-living population of men and women, weight loss is associated with energy intake reduction. Potato intake did not cause weight gain and following either a high- or low-GI dietary prescription was difficult for free-living subjects, emphasizing the complex nature of changing dietary patterns.


body composition; energy restriction; glycemic index; potatoes; weight loss

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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