Study: Low-glycemic diets reduce hunger

The diets are low in sugar and have moderate amounts of carbohydrates.

Hayley Odom

People might be able to stick with their diets longer if they get calories from the right sources.

A University researcher found that low-glycemic diets, or diets low in sugars but with moderate levels of carbohydrates and proteins, might reduce hunger and fatigue when compared with high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets.

“Our study suggests that this type of diet may be easier for people to follow than the traditional approach,” lead researcher Mark Pereira said. “With low-fat diets, participants experience more perceived hunger and lower metabolic rates, which might make it more difficult to stay on the diet.”

The low-glycemic diet, which provided more benefits in the study, included whole-grain foods, fruits and vegetables. The other diet included foods such as white rice, white bread and juice. Pereira said both diets follow the dietary guidelines set by the Food and Drug Administration.

Pereira, who is also a University epidemiology professor, said people who lose weight by reducing dietary fat and calories might have a large fluctuation in blood sugar throughout the day. This means when blood sugar becomes low, people might feel hungrier between meals, he said.

“The body may be happier on a low-glycemic load diet, because blood sugar, the main fuel we survive on, is easier to control,” he said.

Besides combating fatigue and hunger, Pereira said, the low-glycemic diet might also aid the prevention and treatment of obesity, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

He said this diet is a safer alternative to diets such as the Atkins diet or the South Beach diet because it does not include high amounts of animal fat.

Craig Hassel, a food science and nutrition professor, said nutritionists encourage people to eat whole grains and whole foods, because studies show that such foods are healthier. Hassel was not involved with the study.

He said he did not think one specific dietary plan or approach would be beneficial for all people, because people respond differently to certain factors.

He said nutritionists usually recommend mixed diets with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain foods.

First-year biology student Stephanie Eonta said she is not concerned about the type of food she eats. She said knowing that multigrain foods might stave off hunger would not make her more likely to eat them.

Kinesiology senior Andrea Russell said she eats multigrain foods and processed foods. She said she chooses foods based on convenience and availability.