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A low glycemic index/load diet showed no association with changes in cardiometabolic, glucometabolic, and anthropometric parameters in overweight and obese children in a recent study.

Extensive research has focused on combinations of dietary interventions for preventing and treating childhood obesity. However, the effect of a low glycemic index (LGI) and low glycemic load (LGL) diet on pediatric obesity has not received significant attention. 

A study published in the journal Children reviewed the recent research on this issue and analyzed the effectiveness of LGI and LGL diets on anthropometric, cardiometabolic, and glucometabolic markers in children with overweight or obesity.

Study Population

A total of 11 reports, including 9 randomized controlled trials, were included in the analysis, involving 634 obese/overweight children aged 7 to 18 years. An average of 53% were male. The post-intervention GI and GL in the LGI diet groups were >50–75 and 72–183, respectively, and the corresponding values in the control groups were 52–90 and 83–255.

 Primary Outcomes 

There was no difference between the LGI/ LGL diets and control diets in any of the primary outcomes of body weight (mean difference (MD): 0.14; 95% confidence interval 1.93 to 1.64, 5 trials), body mass index (MD: 0.31; 95% CI 0.85 to 0.23, 6 trials), body mass index z-score (MD: 0.03; 95% CI 0.09 to 0.02, 5 trials), and waist circumference (MD: 0.52; 95% CI 2.35 to 1.31, 5 trials).

 Secondary Outcomes:

         Adiposity Markers

  • In the four trials reporting data on adiposity, a low GI/GL diet did not lead to any changes in the adiposity markers of fat mass (MD: 0.23) and fat percentage (MD: 0.19).
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         Cardiometabolic and Glucometabolic Markers

  • No significant differences between intervention and control groups were observed in terms of cardiometabolic and glucometabolic parameters: fasting blood glucose (MD: 1.31), fasting insulin (MD: 0.61), homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance (MD: 0.40), total cholesterol (MD: 0.43), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (MD: 0.25), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (MD: 1.22), triglycerides (MD: 6.43), systolic blood pressure (MD: 0.65), and diastolic blood pressure (MD: 0.66).

 Limitations

The potential risk of bias in most of the included studies raised some concerns. Additionally, the macronutrient dietary composition and the amount of energy consumed differed among trials.

In conclusion, a low GI/GL diet appeared to have no benefit regarding body composition or cardiometabolic or glucometabolic parameters compared to control diets in overweight or obese children. There is a need for further research comparing low-GI and high-GI diets to clarify the health benefits of the LGI diet in this population.

 Source:

Kalaitzopoulou, I., Theodoridis, X., Kotzakioulafi, E., Evripidou, K., & Chourdakis, M. (2023). The Effectiveness of a Low Glycemic Index/Load Diet on Cardiometabolic, Glucometabolic, and Anthropometric Indices in Children with Overweight or Obesity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Children, 10(9), 1481. https://doi.org/10.3390/children10091481