Desserts with a low glycemic index may benefit weight-loss efforts for obese children

Overweight girls lose more weight and can better stay on a healthy diet if they eat sugar-free, low-fat desserts several times weekly, as opposed to any dessert once a week, a new study finds. The results will be reported Monday at The Endocrine Society's 93rd Annual Meeting in Boston.

"Dieters commonly splurge on dessert once a week, usually choosing fattening items," said lead investigator Antonia Dastamani, MD, PhD, a pediatrician and research fellow at Athens University School of Medicine in Athens, Greece. "However, we found a positive effect of more frequent consumption of desserts that have a low glycemic index and low glycemic load."

Carbohydrates have a low glycemic index (GI) if they raise glucose, or blood sugar, levels more slowly than other carbohydrates do. The glycemic load (GL), which depends on serving size, is the food's total effect on blood sugar.

"Studies suggest that low GI/GL diets have a positive effect on weight control and improving insulin resistance," Dastamani said.

Obesity can cause insulin resistance, in which the body does not properly use the . This results in high and sets the stage for development of diabetes.

Dastamani and her colleagues tested the effects of incorporating into a certain low-calorie, low-GI/GL desserts containing sugar substitutes such as sucralose. The products are made by the Giotis Company, a food production company in Athens, which donated the desserts and helped fund the study.

The investigators studied the effects of two diets in 29 girls, ages 10 to 14 years, who had a (BMI) in the 85th percentile or above, considered overweight or obese. A group of 15 girls ate a diet consisting of 45 percent carbohydrates, 35 percent fats and 20 percent proteins, including the low-GI/GL desserts four times a week. The other group of 14 girls followed the same diet except, instead of the low-GI/GL desserts, they ate desserts of their choice once a week.

After three months on the diet, both groups improved their BMI (body composition). Compared with the second group, however, the group that ate the low-GI/GL desserts lost significantly more weight and had better average BMI and systolic blood pressure (the first number in a blood pressure reading), the authors reported.

Girls who ate the low-GI/GL desserts also had significantly improved levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin, the researchers found. They also had better improvements in biochemical markers of (fasting insulin levels in the blood and the homeostatic model assessment, or HOMA, index).

"Childhood obesity is pandemic, and dietary changes among overweight and obese children must be a priority," Dastamani said. "Desserts with a low glycemic index and glycemic load, when eaten in moderation, are valuable tools in the treatment of pediatric obesity."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Low-carb diets prove better at controlling type 2 diabetes

Jan 05, 2009

In a six-month comparison of low-carb diets, one that encourages eating carbohydrates with the lowest-possible rating on the glycemic index leads to greater improvement in blood sugar control, according to Duke University ...

Right breakfast bread keeps blood sugar in check all day

Sep 05, 2007

If you eat the right grains for breakfast, such as whole-grain barley or rye, the regulation of your blood sugar is facilitated after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was previously not known that certain whole-grain products ...

Recommended for you

Just a half hour of lost sleep linked weight gain

45 minutes ago

(HealthDay)—Think twice the next time you don't get as much sleep as you need: A new study suggests that missing just 30 minutes of shuteye during weeknights could boost your weight and disrupt your metabolism.

Irregular sleeping pattern may affect how teens eat

1 hour ago

Day-to-day changes in how long your teen sleeps at night might be affecting how much they eat, according to new research presented at the American Heart Association EPI/Lifestyle 2015 meeting.

How healthy is genetically modified soybean oil?

3 hours ago

Soybean oil accounts for more than 90 percent of all the seed oil production in the United States. Genetically modified (GM) soybean oil, made from seeds of GM soybean plants, was recently introduced into the food supply ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.