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Low Carb Out, Slow Carb In?

Researchers say people lose weight on a low-glycemic-load diet

Slow-Carb Diet, Not Low-Carb Diet

The Ludwig study is far from the first to find benefits for a low-glycemic-load diet, says Jennie Brand-Miller, PhD, professor of human nutrition at the University of Sydney, Australia, and co-author of The Low GI Diet Revolution and other books in The New Glucose Revolution series. Brand-Miller's editorial accompanies the Ludwig team's report.

"This study is telling us that losing weight on a low-GI diet produces better outcomes in terms of heart health than a conventional weight loss diet," Brand-Miller tells WebMD. "Even if the amount of weight lost is the same, you are better off on the low-GI diet. So it's a double bonus."

Brand-Miller says the slow-carb diet -- a name coined by Patricia and Harvey Haakonson, MD, authors of Slow Carb for Life -- is the opposite of the low-carb diet.

"The aim is not to get the lowest glycemic load possible. That's the fastest route to a low-carb-style diet," she says. "A low-GI diet and a low-carb diet are poles apart. We want you to eat lots of carbs, but selectively -- the low-GI versions."

How? Here's Brand-Miller's advice:

  • Aim to eat carbohydrates at every meal.
  • Aim for the low-GI breakfast cereals -- oats, muesli, All-Bran.
  • Aim for heavy-grain breads, sourdough breads, and stone-ground breads.
  • Eat lots of legumes (even baked beans).
  • Don't be afraid to eat pasta, Basmati rice, or couscous.
  • Have two to three servings of low-fat dairy a day.
  • Eat nine servings of fruit and vegetables a day.
  • Don't avoid any kind of fruit or vegetable except potatoes. Replace white potatoes with sweet potatoes, corn, and other healthy foods.
  • Eat lean meat, fish, and chicken.

Ludwig now is recruiting volunteers for a larger study. He's looking for overweight or obese individuals aged 18 to 35 who are willing to sign up for 18 months. The study is taking place at Boston's Children's Hospital.

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