Effect of the glycemic index of the diet on weight loss, modulation of satiety, inflammation, and other metabolic risk factors: a randomized controlled trial

Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jul;100(1):27-35. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.081216. Epub 2014 Apr 30.


Background: Low-glycemic index (GI) diets have been proven to have beneficial effects in such chronic conditions as type 2 diabetes, ischemic heart disease, and some types of cancer, but the effect of low-GI diets on weight loss, satiety, and inflammation is still controversial.

Objective: We assessed the efficacy of 2 moderate-carbohydrate diets and a low-fat diet with different GIs on weight loss and the modulation of satiety, inflammation, and other metabolic risk markers.

Design: The GLYNDIET study is a 6-mo randomized, parallel, controlled clinical trial conducted in 122 overweight and obese adults. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the following 3 isocaloric energy-restricted diets for 6 mo: 1) a moderate-carbohydrate and high-GI diet (HGI), 2) a moderate-carbohydrate and low-GI diet (LGI), and 3) a low-fat and high-GI diet (LF).

Results: At weeks 16 and 20 and the end of the intervention, changes in body mass index (BMI; in kg/m(2)) differed significantly between intervention groups. Reductions in BMI were greater in the LGI group than in the LF group, whereas in the HGI group, reductions in BMI did not differ significantly from those in the other 2 groups (LGI: -2.45 ± 0.27; HGI: -2.30 ± 0.27; LF: -1.43 ± 0.27; F = 4.616, P = 0.012; pairwise comparisons: LGI compared with HGI, P = 1.000; LGI compared with LF, P = 0.016; HGI compared with LF, P = 0.061). The decrease in fasting insulin, homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance, and homeostatic model assessment of β cell function was also significantly greater in the LGI group than in the LF group (P < 0.05). Despite this tendency for a greater improvement with a low-GI diet, the 3 intervention groups were not observed to have different effects on hunger, satiety, lipid profiles, or other inflammatory and metabolic risk markers.

Conclusion: A low-GI and energy-restricted diet containing moderate amounts of carbohydrates may be more effective than a high-GI and low-fat diet at reducing body weight and controlling glucose and insulin metabolism. This trial was registered at Current Controlled Trials (www.controlled-trials.com) as ISRCTN54971867.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Glycemic Index*
  • Humans
  • Hunger
  • Inflammation / diet therapy*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Overweight / diet therapy*
  • Risk Factors
  • Satiation / physiology
  • Weight Loss*


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Insulin

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN54971867