Low GL for Weight Loss

  • 20 Jul 2014
  • Reading time 15 mins
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Numerous studies have now shown how much more effective a low-GL diet is than other diets.The latest scientific review of 6 studies looking at the effect of low GL diets on overweight people has shown that a low GL diet is more effective than any other diet for weight loss and improving overall health.

Numerous studies have now shown how much more effective a low-GL diet is than other diets.

Scientific Evidence for the Benefits of Low GL for Weight Loss

Study 1 - Cochrane Review

The latest scientific review of 6 studies looking at the effect of low GL diets on overweight people has shown that a low GL diet is more effective than any other diet for weight loss and improving overall health.

‘Overweight or obese people lost more weight on a low Glycemic Load diet and had more improvements in lipid profiles than those receiving conventional diets.’ The review compared the results of six well designed trials comparing low GL diets with conventional diets based on reducing calories. Other benefits were greater loss in body fat, reductions in bad ‘LDL’ cholesterol, and increase in good ‘HDL’ cholesterol.

The authors looked at 6 studies involving over 202 overweight people either on low GL or conventional calorie controlled diets. The diets ranged from 5 weeks to 6 months in length.

Body mass, total fat mass, BMI (Body Mass Index), total cholesterol and ‘bad’ LDL-cholesterol all decreased significantly more in the low GL groups than in the calorie controlled diets.

This study highlights the importance and effectiveness of following a low Glycemic Load diet, not only for weight loss but also for improving cardiovascular health.

Thomas DE, Elliott EJ, Baur L. Low Glycemic Index or Low Glycemic Load Diets for Overweight and Obesity. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2007, Issue 3

Study 2

We conducted a trial, published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, placing twenty people on the Holford Low GL Diet, plus basic supplements (a multivitamin, extra vitamin C and omega 3 and 6 fats) for eight weeks. Four were unable to complete for personal reasons, leaving sixteen. The average weight loss was a highly significant 10.25lbs, equivalent to 1.3lbs per person per week. Body fat percentage dropped by an average of 2%. In addition, 94% reported greater energy, 67% had greater concentration, memory or alertness, 67% had less indigestion or bloating, clearer and less dry skin , 50% reported fewer feelings of depression and more stable moods.There was also a significant drop in blood pressure.

Holford et al, Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, 2006, Vol21(2):71-77

Low GL Diets Cause More Weight Loss on Identical Calories

Study 3

A comparison of weight loss between dieters placed on a low GL diet versus a conventional low fat, calorie controlled diet, each diet providing the same number of calories, shows vastly superior weight loss on the low GL diet.

Researchers in the Human Nutrition department at South Africa’s University of the Orange Free State assigned 15 volunteers to a low-GL diet and 15 others to a normal calorie-controlled diet for 12 weeks. Both diets contained identical numbers of calories. The two groups then switched diets for 12 more weeks. During the first 12 weeks both groups lost weight, but those on the low-GL diet lost 1.9kg more weight (9.3kg versus 7.4kg). After the initial 12 weeks, seven and nine subjects who had been on the Low GL and Conventional Diet, respectively, switched diets for 12 weeks. During the second 12-week period those place on the low GL diet had an average further weight loss of 2.9kg more than those on the low-fat, low-calorie diet (7.4kg vs 4.5kg), equating to 10% weight loss compared to 7% – that’s 40 per cent more weight loss on the GL diet.

Slabber M et al., American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,1994, Vol 60(1): pp. 48–53

Study 4

This study examined the effect of replacing saturated fat with carbohydrate (as in the US National Cholesterol Education Program [NCEP] diet) or protein and monounsaturated fat, in a modified low-carbohydrate (MLC) diet, which is lower in total carbohydrates and higher in protein, monounsaturated fat and complex carbohydrates (as in the low GL diet).
60 participants were randomized to the NCEP or the MLC diet and evaluated for 12 weeks. Weight loss was significantly greater in the MLC diet than in the high carbohydrate diet. There were also favourable changes in all fat levels within the MLC but not the NCEP group.

Aude et al. Arch Intern Med, 2004, Oct 25; 164(19):2141-6

Study 5

Animals fed high calorie diets providing the identical number of calories show much less weight gain and fat gain on a low GL diet.

Two groups of rats were fed identical diets; except one group (10 rats) ate low GL and the other (11 rats) ate high GL food. The low-GL fed rats gained no weight. But the high-GL rats gained weight week on week. By the end of 32 weeks, the low-GL group were not only 14 per cent lighter – they also had 29 per cent less body fat!

Pawlak D et al., Proceedings of the Nutrition Society Australia, 2000,; Vol 24: pp215

Low GL Weight Loss is More Sustainable than Conventional Diets

Study 6

In a study published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, one group of people were put on a low GL diet and another group on a conventional low-fat, low-calorie diet (Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating). Those following the low GL diet lost significantly more weight compared to those following the conventional ......

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