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Obesity: Lentils better than white bread for dieting

The latest findings from the Cochrane Library

Wiley

You have a greater possibility of losing weight if you eat a diet that is high in foods like lentils that release energy slowly once they have been consumed, rather than one that is high in foods that rapidly release sugar into the blood stream such as white bread, a Cochrane Systematic Review has concluded.

When foods are eaten the body breaks them down into their components, and one component will be sugar. Different foods break down at different rates. Lentils, for instance, generate a long, gentle release of sugars, while foods like white bread send a sudden rush of sugar into the blood stream. Foods that release sugars rapidly are said to have a high glycaemic index - those that release it slowly have a low glycaemic index.

A team of Cochrane Researchers set out to search for carefully conducted research trials that looked at the effects of eating high and low glycaemic index foods. They found six randomised controlled trials that involved a total of 202 participants. The trials ran for between five weeks and six months.

Their conclusion was that people eating low glycaemic index diets lost a mean of one kilogram more than those on similar energy high glycaemic index diets.

"Low glycaemic index diets appear to be particularly effective for people who are obese," says lead author Dr Diana Thomas, the Scientific Director of the Centre for Evidence Based Paediatrics Gastroenterology and Nutrition, in Westmead, Australia.

"It may be easier to adhere to a low glycaemic index diet than a conventional weight loss diet, since there is less need to restrict the intake of food so long as the carbohydrates consumed have a low glycaemic index," says Thomas.

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