You want to lose weight, but are so confused by all of the information out there. Is it really calories in and calories out? Does the type of food you choose make a difference? Well, a newer study hopes to shed some light on the subject. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have revealed the results of the world’s largest diet study: If you want to lose weight, you must eat a diet high in protein (beans, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy, lean poultry, lean meats) and low in refined starches (white bread, rice, pasta, cereal). With this diet, they also found that you don’t have to count calories – just eat until you’re full.
The results of this study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrate that the current dietary guidelines are not sufficient in preventing or treating obesity.
In the study, participants (adults and children) were placed on one of five different diets (all of which were low in fat):
- high protein, low glycemic index (LGI)
- high protein, high glycemic index (HGI)
- low protein, LGI
- low protein, HGI
- control group instructed to follow current dietary guidelines
Those in the low protein, HGI group fared the worst, while those following a high-protein, LGI diet lost the most weight (both adults and children).
The glycemic index is a measure of the ability of carbohydrates to increase blood glucose levels when absorbed in the body. Food with a low-glycemic index (LGI) causes blood glucose levels to increase more slowly and to lower levels compared to high-carbohydrate foods with a high glycemic index.
Foods that have a low GI include most fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, protein-rich foods, and fats. Although some fruits and vegetables have high GIs, it does not mean you should avoid them. They are amazing sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants and should be included in your diet. High GI foods include white rice, pasta, baked and mashed potatoes, white and sugary cereal, soda, candy – foods with little nutritional value. The addition of proteins and fats to a meal with High GI foods will help to lower the overall GI of that meal. So if you eat a baked potato with a piece of fish and some spinach, then the high GI of the baked potato is lowered and the overall rise in blood sugar is blunted.
Breakfast: 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt + 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats + 1 cup berries + 1 tbs. chopped almonds + 1 tsp. agave or honey + cinnamon
Snack: 1/4 cup walnuts + 1 apple
Lunch: Lettuce wraps (chicken, shrimp, or tofu) with stir-fried veggies + 1/2 cup brown rice
Snack: 1 cup edamame
Dinner: 1 piece salmon or halibut + 2 cups roasted vegetables + 1 sweet potato
Diets higher in protein have been shown to make you feel fuller for longer periods of time. Why not try it out and see if it helps keep those pounds away?