Background: Lowering the dietary glycemic load and increasing protein intake may be advantageous for weight management.
Objective: This randomized controlled trial was designed to evaluate the effects of an ad libitum reduced-glycemic-load (RGL) diet on body weight, body composition, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk markers in overweight and obese adults during an initial weight-loss phase (12 wk) and a weight-loss maintenance phase (weeks 24-36).
Design: Subjects were assigned to RGL (n = 43) or low-fat, portion-controlled (control; n = 43) diet groups. The RGL group was instructed to eat until satisfied, maintaining a low carbohydrate intake during weeks 0-2 and adding low-glycemic-index carbohydrate thereafter. Control subjects were instructed to reduce fat intake and decrease portion sizes, with a targeted energy deficit of 500 to 800 kcal/d.
Results: The RGL group had lost significantly more weight than did the control group at week 12 (-4.9 and -2.5 kg, respectively; P = 0.002), but the 2 groups did not differ significantly at week 36 (-4.5 and -2.6 kg, respectively; P = 0.085). Changes in fat mass differed between the groups at week 12 (-1.9 and -0.9 kg, respectively; P = 0.016) but not at week 36 (-2.0 and -1.3 kg, respectively; P = 0.333). At the end of the study, no differences were found in responses for CVD risk markers except a larger mean change in HDL cholesterol in the RGL group than in the control group (3.8 and 1.9 mg/dL, respectively; P = 0.037).
Conclusion: These findings provide evidence that an ad libitum RGL diet is a reasonable alternative to a low-fat, portion-controlled eating plan for weight management.