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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging

Title: Effect of glycemic load on eating behavior self-efficacy during weight loss

item Karl, James
item Cheatham, Rachel
item Das, Sai Krupa
item Hyatt, Raymond
item Gilhooly, Cheryl
item Pittas, Anastassios
item Lieberman, Harris
item Lerner, Debra
item Roberts, Susan
item Saltzman, Edward

Submitted to: Appetite
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/18/2014
Publication Date: 5/21/2014
Citation: Karl, J.P., Cheatham, R.A., Das, S., Hyatt, R.R., Gilhooly, C.H., Pittas, A.G., Lieberman, H.R., Lerner, D., Roberts, S.B., Saltzman, E. 2014. Effect of glycemic load on eating behavior self-efficacy during weight loss. Appetite. 80:204-211. DOI:10.1016/j.appet.2014.05.017.

Interpretive Summary: Eating behavior self-efficacy is a person’s belief in their ability to control their eating. Previous research suggests that high eating behavior self-efficacy is associated with successful weight loss and weight loss maintenance. Diets that minimize hunger may help with weight loss by increasing eating behavior self efficacy. Low glycemic index diets are diets that do not cause large changes in blood sugar levels. This stabilizing effect on blood sugar may prevent increased hunger during weight loss and thereby increase eating behavior self-efficacy. This study examined whether low glycemic index weight loss diets increase eating behavior self-efficacy. The results indicate that low glycemic index diets do not affect eating behavior self-efficacy during weight loss. However, the results did show that some people in the study had a decrease in eating behavior self-efficacy during a period of time in which all of their food was provided to them. This decrease in eating-behavior self-efficacy was not associated with glycemic index, but was associated with less weight loss when food was provided. The decrease was also associated with weight gain when food was no longer provided. The findings suggest that providing complete diets to people in order to help them lose weight may not help all of those people develop the self-confidence they need to control their eating and maintain a healthy body weight.

Technical Abstract: High eating behavior self-efficacy may contribute to successful weight loss. Diet interventions that maximize eating behavior self-efficacy may therefore improve weight loss outcomes. However, data on the effect of diet composition on eating behavior self-efficacy are sparse. To determine the effects of dietary glycemic load (GL) on eating behavior self-efficacy during weight loss, body weight and eating behavior self-efficacy were measured every six months in overweight adults participating in a 12-mo randomized trial testing energy-restricted diets differing in GL. All food was provided during the first six months and self-selected thereafter. Total mean weight loss did not differ between groups, and GL-level had no significant effect on eating behavior self-efficacy. In the combined cohort, individuals losing the most weight reported improvements in eating behavior self-efficacy, whereas those achieving less weight loss reported decrements in eating behavior self-efficacy. Decrements in eating behavior self-efficacy were associated with subsequent weight regain when diets were self-selected. While GL does not appear to influence eating behavior self-efficacy, lesser amounts of weight loss on provided-food energy restricted diets may deter successful maintenance of weight loss by attenuating improvements in eating behavior self-efficacy.

Last Modified: 06/23/2017
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