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An evaluation of an Internet-based approach to weight loss with low glycaemic load principles


Avril Collinson, School of Health Professions, Faculty of Health, University of Plymouth, Derriford Road, Plymouth PL6 8BH, UK.
Tel.: +44 0 (1752) 588800
Fax: +44 0 (1752) 588874


Background:  The prevalence of overweight and obesity is increasing worldwide at an alarming rate. An Internet-based weight-loss programme has the potential to reach larger numbers of people than traditional face-to-face programmes. A growing body of evidence supports the use of low glycaemic load (GL) diets for weight loss. The present study aimed to investigate the efficacy of an Internet-based weight-loss programme that included foods with a low GL.

Methods:  One hundred and three volunteers, with a body mass index (BMI) ≥28 kg m−2, enrolled into an Internet weight-loss programme. A dietitian counselled participants over the Internet via weekly interactive chat rooms and monthly e-mails. Participants self-recorded body weight and food intake directly on to the Internet site. Weight, BMI and waist circumference were measured, and dietary data collected, at baseline and 6 months.

Results:  Seventy participants completed the 6-month weight-loss programme. Among these, mean weight, BMI and waist circumference significantly decreased by 3.5 kg (95% CI = 2.3–4.7), 1.2 kg m−2 (95% CI = 0.8–1.7) and 4.8 cm (95% CI = 2.8–6.8), of baseline values respectively (P < 0.001). Twenty-five (36%) of the 70 participants lost a clinically significant amount of weight (>5% of initial body weight).

Conclusions:  This descriptive study has shown that an Internet-based weight-loss programme with low GL principles can promote weight loss. This type of intervention and approach could be used to enhance other weight-loss strategies.