Low GI diet helps heart disease patients lose weight

Low GI diet helps heart disease patients lose weight
© iStock/marilyna

New research finds that consuming a low glycaemic index (GI) diet promotes weight loss in patients with coronary artery disease.

The Low GI index is based on the glycaemic index (GI) model, a measurement system that ranks carbohydrate-containing foods according to their effect on blood sugar levels. High GI foods include white bread, potatoes, and sweets, whereas low GI foods include fruits and pulses.

Previous studies have unearthed that high GI diets are associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. A team of experts conducted a randomised controlled trial assessing the benefit of a low GI diet on body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, hip circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio in patients with coronary artery disease.

The findings were presented at ACNAP-EuroHeartCare Congress 2022, the scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

What is the best diet for coronary artery disease?

160 patients between 38 and 76 years old were allocated either a low GI diet or a routine diet for three months. Both groups continued to receive standard therapies for coronary artery disease.

The average age of participants was 58 years and 52% were women.

The low GI diet group were advised to consume low GI foods and avoid high GI foods whilst consuming protein and fat. The routine diet group consumed the recommended diet for coronary artery disease, a diet that limits fat and some proteins such as whole milk, cheese and fried foods.

Low GI diet: a weight loss miracle?

At three months, the researchers noted all body measurements had decreased in both groups compared to baseline. However, the changes were only significant in the low GI group.

When the researchers compared changes from baseline to study completion between groups, the low GI diet significantly reduced BMI and waist circumference. BMI was reduced by 4.2kg in the low GI diet group compared to 1.4kg in the routine diet group. Waist circumference decreased by 9cm in the low GI group compared with 3.3cm in the routine diet group. There was no significant difference in hip circumference and waist-to-hip ratio.

The researchers tested whether women and men were impacted differently. They found that low GI food was more likely to influence waist circumference, hip circumference and waist-to-hip ratio in men compared with women. The beneficial effect of a low GI diet on BMI was the same for men and women.

Study author Dr Jamol Uzokov of the Republican Specialised Scientific-Practical Medical Center of Therapy and Medical Rehabilitation, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, said: “While larger studies are needed to confirm these findings, our research indicates that emphasising low GI foods as part of a balanced diet could help patients with heart disease control their body weight and their waistline.”


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