BACKGROUND Despite interest in the glycemic index diets as an approach to weight control, few long-term evaluations are available. OBJECTIVE The objective was to investigate the long-term effect of a low-glycemic-index (LGI) diet compared with that of a high-glycemic-index (HGI) diet; all other dietary components were equal. DESIGN After a 6-wk run-in, we randomly assigned 203 healthy women [body mass index (in kg/m2): 23-30] aged 25-45 y to an LGI or an HGI diet with a small energy restriction. The primary outcome measure was weight change at 18 mo. Secondary outcomes included hunger and fasting insulin and lipids. RESULTS Despite requiring a run-in and the use of multiple incentives, only 60% of the subjects completed the study. The difference in glycemic index between the diets was approximately 35-40 units (40 compared with 79) during all 18 mo of follow-up, and the carbohydrate intake from energy remained at approximately 60% in both groups. The LGI group had a slightly greater weight loss in the first 2 mo of follow-up (-0.72 compared with -0.31 kg), but after 12 mo of follow-up both groups began to regain weight. After 18 mo, the weight change was not significantly different (P = 0.93) between groups (LGI: -0.41 kg; HGI: -0.26 kg). A greater reduction was observed in the LGI diet group for triacylglycerol (difference = -16.4 mg/dL; P = 0.11) and VLDL cholesterol (difference = -3.7 mg/dL; P = 0.03). CONCLUSIONS Long-term weight changes were not significantly different between the HGI and LGI diet groups; therefore, this study does not support a benefit of an LGI diet for weight control. Favorable changes in lipids confirmed previous results.
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