Gained weight after losing it? This could be the culprit

Consuming foods such as soft white bread and jasmine rice lead to greater weight gain after weight loss, new research suggests.

Such foods can also raise blood glucose levels, increasing the likelihood of type 2 diabetes.

High glycemic index (GI) versions of foods such as bread, potato and rice (for example, soft white and brown breads, desiree potatoes and jasmine rice) are likely to significantly increase the risk of weight gain following weight loss, the new research suggests.

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Participants in an international study who maintained a high GI diet following weight loss gained half a kilo more per year than those with a low GI diet.  

“Weight regain is a common problem after rapid weight loss,” said study co-author Professor Jennie Brand-Miller from the University of Sydney.

“Prior to this research, there were few large-scale studies on long-term weight loss management and glycemic status. In the new research, as well as better weight control, low GI diets were linked to improved blood glucose levels.

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“Maintaining lower blood glucose levels lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hardening of the arteries and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.

“Now that we have found an association between a high GI diet and weight regain, we can conduct further research to determine how best to achieve a lower GI diet.”

The researchers used a global study of more than 2000 people classified as overweight or obese, who were at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

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In the first phase of the study, all participants consumed meal replacement shakes to achieve fast weight loss, equivalent to at least 8 per cent of their body weight (about 11kg) in eight weeks.

In the second phase, lasting three years, the researchers compared two diets and two exercise strategies: a high protein-low GI diet, or a moderate protein-moderate GI diet, each combined with either high or moderate intensity exercise.

Despite their best efforts, all four groups regained some of the weight they had lost. But in the secondary analysis, it was clear that the lower the GI of the diet, the smaller the weight regain.

The beneficial effect of GI was still present after adjusting for differences in protein, fibre, and other factors.

Have you had problems keeping off weight once you have lost it? What diets have you tried? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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