Background. One in 5 American children is overweight, despite a decrease in total fat consumption. This has sparked an interest in the carbohydrate composition of diets, including the glycemic index (GI).
Objective. To investigate whether a low-GI meal replacement (LMR) produced similar metabolic, hormonal, and satiety responses in overweight adolescents as a low-GI whole-food meal (LWM) when compared with a moderately high-GI meal replacement (HMR).
Methods. Randomized, crossover study comparing LMR, HMR, and LWM in 16 (8 male/8 female) adolescents during 3 separate 24-hour admissions. The meal replacements consisted of a shake and a nutrition bar. Identical test meals were provided at breakfast and lunch. Metabolic and hormonal indices were assessed between meals. Measures of participants’ perceived satiety included hunger scales and ad libitum food intake.
Results. The incremental areas under the curve for glucose were 46% and 43% lower after the LMR and LWM, respectively, compared with the HMR. Insulin’s incremental area under the curve was also significantly lower after both low GI test meals (LMR = 36%; LWM = 51%) compared with the HMR. Additional food was requested earlier after the HMR than the LMR (3.1 vs 3.9 hours, respectively), although voluntary energy intake did not differ.
Conclusions. Differences in insulin response between the meal replacements occurred, and prolongation of satiety after the LMR, based on time to request additional food, was observed. We speculate that the prolonged satiety associated with low GI foods may prove an effective method for reducing caloric intake and achieving long-term weight control.