Eat a high-protein, low-glycemic diet with optimal fiber intake for a leaner physique and less inflammation. A new study shows that managing your glycemic index and eating high-quality protein daily is a simple way to achieve optimal body composition. The catch is that you have to ensure you get enough fiber because without it, inflammatory markers rise, compromising health and body comp.
A new study in the journal Circulation used healthy, normal weight participants from eight European countries and tested the effect of five different diets on health biomarkers and body composition. First the participants were put on an 8-week low-calorie diet that produced a whopping 12 kg weight loss.
Then they were randomized into five diet groups without restricted calories for 6 months:
Results showed that there were no significant differences in body composition markers after the 6-month dietary intervention, but both of the low-glycemic diets produced a small additional fat loss. Plus, the low-glycemic/high-protein group lost another kilo of fat and maintained lean mass better than the four other diets.
Both low-glycemic groups also had the greatest drop in C-reactive protein (a primary marker of cardiovascular inflammation), cholesterol (LDL was down and HDL was up for a more favorable profile), and blood pressure. Results showed that the low-protein/low-glycemic diet produced the greatest improvement in these markers, which is due to the greater fiber content of a typical low-protein/low-glycemic diet.
Fiber is commonly lacking in high-protein diets, even if they include a large amount of vegetables and fruit. For best results with a high-protein diet, you must make a conscious effort to get adequate fiber from a variety of sources because the data suggest that the body adapts very quickly to certain fibers. Researchers suggest that if they had to choose between a high-protein/low-glycemic or low-protein/low-glycemic diet for cardiovascular and metabolic health, they’d go with the latter because it’s difficult to get people to consume adequate fiber without carb-rich cereal fibers! Don’t be fooled—just make sure you get supplemental fiber everyday and eat a lot of vegetables and fruit.
Gogebakan, P., Kohl, A., et al. Effects of Weight Loss and Long-Term Weight Maintenance with Diets Varying in Protein and Glycemic Index on Cardiovascular Risk Factors. Circulation. 2011. 124, 2829-2938.