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Recommendations Summary

Adult Weight Management (AWM) Low Glycemic Index Diets

Click here to see the explanation of recommendation ratings (Strong, Fair, Weak, Consensus, Insufficient Evidence) and labels (Imperative or Conditional). To see more detail on the evidence from which the following recommendations were drawn, use the hyperlinks in the Supporting Evidence Section below.


AWM: Low Glycemic Index Diets

A low glycemic index diet is not recommended for weight loss or weight maintenance as part of a comprehensive weight management program, since it has not been shown to be effective in these areas.

Rating: Strong

Risks/Harms of Implementing This Recommendation


Conditions of Application

No conditions specified.

Potential Costs Associated with Application


Recommendation Narrative

  • Eight RCTs (5 positive-quality and 3 neutral-quality) report no significant differences in energy intake or body weight after the consumption of low-glycemic-index foods, however, some of these studies report significant improvements in other parameters, such as hunger and body fat mass (Alfenas and Mattes, 2005; Bouche et al, 2002; Carels et al, 2005; Ebbeling et al, 2005; Frost et al, 2004; Pereira et al, 2004; Sloth et al, 2004; Thompson et al, 2005)
  • One neutral-quality cohort study showed significant differences in weight loss and abdominal obesity after following a low-glycemic load diet (LaHaye et al, 2005)

Recommendation Strength Rationale

  • Conclusion statement is Grade I

Minority Opinions

Consensus reached.

Supporting Evidence

The recommendations were created from the evidence analysis on the following questions. To see detail of the evidence analysis, click the blue hyperlinks below (recommendations rated consensus will not have supporting evidence linked).

In adults, how effective is the consumption of low glycemic index foods for reducing energy intake and promoting weight loss?


Alfenas RCG, Mattes RD. Influence of glycemic index/load on glycemic response, appetite, and food intake in healthy humans. Diabetes Care 2005; 28: 2123 - 2129.

Bouche C, Rizkalla SW, Luo J, Vidal H, Veronese A, Pacher N, Fouquet C, Lang V, Slama G. Five-week, low-glycemic index diet decreases total fat mass and improves plasma lipid profile in moderately overweight nondiabetic men. Diabetes Care 2002; 25: 822-828.

Carels RA, Darby LA, Douglass OM, Cacciapaglia HM, Rydin S. Education on the glycemic index of foods fails to improve treatment outcomes in a behavioral weight loss program. Eating Behaviors 2005; 6(2): 145-150.

Ebbeling CB, Leidig MM, Sinclair KB, Seger-Shippee LG, Feldman HA, Ludwig DS. Effects of an ad libitum low-glycemic load diet on cardiovascular disease risk factors in obese young adults. Am J Clin Nutr 2005; 81: 976-982.

Frost GS, Brynes AE, Bovill-Taylor C, Dornhorst A. A prospective randomised trial to determine the efficacy of a low glycaemic index diet given in addition to healthy eating and weight loss advice in patients with coronary heart disease. Eur J Clin Nutr 2004; 58: 121-127.

LaHaye SA, Hollett PM, Vyselaar JR, Shalchi M, Lahey KA, Day AG. Comparison between a low glycemic load diet and a Canada Food Guide diet in cardiac rehabilitation patients in Ontario. Can J Cardiol 2005; 21(6): 489-494.

Pereira MA, Swain J, Goldfine AB, Rifai N, Ludwig DS. Effects of a low-glycemic load diet on resting energy expenditure and heart disease risk factors during weight loss. JAMA 2004; 292: 2,482 - 2,490.

Sloth B, Krog-Mikkelsen I, Flint A, Tetens I, Bjorck I, Vinoy S, Elmstahl H, Astrup A, Lang V, Raben A. No difference in body weight decrease between a low-glycemic-index and a high-glycemic-index diet but reduced LDL cholesterol after 10-week ad libitum intake of the low-glycemic-index diet. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004; 80: 337-347.

Thompson WG, Rostad Holdman N, Janzow DJ, Slezak JM, Morris KL, Zemel MB. Effect of energy-reduced diets high in dairy products and fiber on weight loss in obese adults. Obesity Research 2005; 13(8): 1344-1353.

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