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Bring on the Turkey! (And Keep Off the Weight)

Bring on the Turkey! (And Keep Off the Weight)

Picture of Cynthia Haines MD

If you have ever been on a diet and lost weight, you know that the real challenge is what comes next: keeping it off. In our upcoming book, we talk a lot about health tools you can use. I like to think of diet as just that. Why not take something you need to do anyway (eat) and find a way to make it work for you–helping you be healthier, with less input from the healthcare system.

New research published in tomorrow's New England Journal of Medicine supports the approach of upping the protein and cutting the refined carbs for more successful weight maintenance.

When reaching for the carbs, the researchers suggest sticking with "low-glycemic index" varieties instead of the more heavily processed (refined) versions. The glycemic index (GI) correlates with blood glucose levels; if a food has a low GI, it means that it causes blood levels to increase more slowly.

In this study, 938 adults with an average body-mass index (BMI) of 34 were included. Of these, 773 completed an initial weight-loss phase followed by assignment to one of these weight-maintenance plans:

  • Low protein/high GI diet
  • Low protein/low GI diet
  • High protein/low GI diet
  • High protein/high GI diet
  • No special instructions

(All diets included moderate amounts of fat–approximately 25 to 30 percent of total calories)

The participants lost an average of 24 pounds over the 8-week weight loss period. After six months, the participants who had the highest average weight gain were those in the low protein/high GI group, with a average weight gain of about 3.6 pounds. Those following the low GI plans had an average weight regain of 2 pounds less than their counterparts on high GI.

As we approach one of the biggest eating days of the year, you can take this research and use it to your advantage. Bring on the turkey, the whole-grain rolls (instead of white), brown rice (instead of white), and the sweet potatoes (instead of baked potatoes). And enjoy. We'll be back at it next week.

Happy Thanksgiving All!

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