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Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Nutrition & Wellness Channel
Reported June 9, 2011

Eat More Dessert, Lose Weight

(Ivanhoe Newswire)--Eating dessert throughout the week may help dieters lose more weight. Studies show that overweight girls lose more weight and tend to stay on a healthy diet if they eat sugar-free, low-fat desserts several times a week as opposed to a full calorie, high sugar dessert once a week.

Pediatrician and research fellow at Athens University School of Medicine in Athens, Greece, Antonia Dastamani, M.D., PhD states, "Dieters commonly splurge on a dessert once a week, usually choosing a fattening item. However, we found a positive effect of more frequent consumption of desserts that have a low glycemic index and low glycemic load."

Carbohydrates have a low glycemic index (GI) if they induce glucose or blood sugar levels at a slower rate than other carbohydrates. The glycemic load (GL) depends on serving size and is the food's total effect on blood sugar. Obesity can cause insulin resistance which results in higher blood sugar levels and can set the stage for the development of diabetes.

Dastamani and her colleagues studied the effects of incorporating certain low calorie, low GI/GL desserts containing sugar substitutes, into a balanced diet. Investigators studied the effects of two diets in 29 girls, ages 10 to 14 years old that had a body mass index in the 85th percentile or above, considered overweight or obese. A group of 15 girls ate a diet consisting of 45 percent carbohydrates, 35 percent fats, and 20 percent proteins, including the low GI/GL desserts four times a week. The other group of 14 girls followed the same diet except rather than consume the low GI/GL dessert, they ate desserts of their choice once a week.

After three months on the diet, both groups improved their body mass index, however, the group that ate the low GI/GL desserts lost significantly more weight while improving levels of appetite suppressing hormone, leptin. These girls also had better improvements in certain biochemical markers of insulin resistance.

"Childhood obesity is pandemic, and dietary changes among overweight and obese children must be a priority. Desserts with a low glycemic index and load, when eaten in moderation, are valuable tools in the treatment of pediatric obesity," says Dastamani.

SOURCE: The Endocrine Society, June 6, 2011

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