Finally, largest ever study finds formula for lasting weight loss

As every dieter knows, losing weight is the simple bit. Keeping it off is the real challenge.

Now the world's largest diet study has come up with a solution: the most effective way of maintaining weight loss is to eat a high protein/low glycaemic index (GI) diet, with lots of lean meat, beans and low-fat dairy products and fewer foods high in refined starch such as white bread and white rice.

The glycaemic index applies to carbohydrates and is a measure of how fast they are converted to glucose. The lower the GI, the slower the digestion and the greater the level of satiety.

Low GI diets allow people to eat until they are full, without counting calories and without gaining weight.

An international study of more than 900 adults and 800 children from eight European countries – including the United Kingdom – found that after six months those on the diet were on average 2kg lighter than those on rival diets with a high glycaemic index. The participants had already lost an average of 11kg and were testing alternative approaches to maintaining their weight loss.

Professor Arne Astrup of the University of Copenhagen, who led the study, said the findings suggested official dietary advice was out of date.

"I was one of the enemies of GI," she said. "I expected in this trial it would make no difference. I was really surprised. It is as important as protein in maintaining weight loss."

High protein diets, such as the Atkins, are known to promote weight loss, because they delay emptying of the stomach and increase insulin production.

Adding carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index which are digested slowly decreases hunger.

Motivation is key in maintaining weight loss and a high protein/low GI diet is easier to follow because no major food group is banned.

But following the diet poses its own challenge. Wholegrain breads and cereals are mostly low GI, as are most vegetables. Among fruits, apples, pears and oranges are low GI, but grapes, kiwi fruit and melon are high GI because they have a lot of sugar. Chocolate is low GI, as the fat slows absorption of the sugar. A hot baked potato has a high GI but cooling transforms the starch rendering it less easily digested, so it becomes low GI.

"If you choose wholegrain versions of bread, pasta and rice, then you will have a lower GI diet. These are the most important contributors," Professor Astrup said.

Typical menu

Breakfast

Low-fat milk with muesli (any variety without added sugar), wholegrain bread with low-fat cheese, an orange



Lunch

Wholegrain bread with lean meat or chicken, tuna steak in tomato sauce with vegetables



Dinner

Stir-fried turkey with vegetables and wholegrain pasta; avocado salad with feta cheese and sugar peas

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    DT teachers required for supply roles in Cambridge

    £21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: DT teachers required ...

    Secondary supply teachers required in Wisbech

    £21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Secondary teachers ne...

    PPA Cover Teachers Required in Doncaster

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Primary PPA Teachers required for wo...

    Maths teachers needed for supply work in Ipswich

    £21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Maths teachers requir...

    Day In a Page

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering