Eight European research centers collaborated on the study called “Diogenes” (Diet, Obesity and Genes), which investigated the effectiveness of diets varying in protein content and glycemic index on preventing weight regain following a period of weight loss. The results were recently published in New England Journal of Medicine in November.
Dairy products, which are typically categorized as low-glycemic index foods, and dairy ingredients provide a good source of protein and can play a valuable role in building a higher-protein diet to help maintain a healthy weight. The Dairy Research Institute, which manages pre-competitive dairy research in nutrition, products and sustainability on behalf of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and the National Dairy Council, has focused much of its resources on research related to the connection between dairy consumption and healthy weight, including the role of dairy protein.
“Research on weight has steadily evolved during the last 10 years,” said Greg Miller, president of the Dairy Research Institute. “Researchers continue to demonstrate the connection between higher-protein diets and healthy weight and the results reported by the Diogenes investigators provide further evidence for that relationship.”
In this study, overweight and obese adults initially underwent an eight-week weight loss phase where they consumed a low-calorie diet. Following successful weight loss (≥8% of their original body weight), participants were randomly assigned to one of five different diets in which there were no restrictions on calorie intake, but they had to choose from foods that fit one of these five profiles: low protein/low GI, low protein/high GI, high protein/low GI, high protein/high GI, or a control diet which followed the dietary guidelines in their respective country. A total of 548 participants completed the six-month diet intervention. The results showed that a diet consisting of higher protein content and low-glycemic index foods helped ensure overweight people who lost weight were better able to maintain their weight loss.
Low-fat dairy and dairy ingredients like whey protein can help consumers increase their protein intake to help achieve weight management goals. Food and beverage manufacturers and dairy processors can leverage the high-quality protein found in dairy to help meet these needs.
“Advancing the science surrounding metabolic health, including healthy weight maintenance, is increasingly important in light of the nation’s obesity epidemic and rising healthcare costs,” said Kevin Ponticelli, board of directors chair, Dairy Research Institute, and executive vice president of Dairy Management Inc. “Metabolic health is a nutrition research priority for the industry. We are committed to better understanding the effects of dairy consumption on weight, heart disease and diabetes.”