Original Article

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2013) 67, 990–995; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2013.99; published online 19 June 2013

Interventions and public health nutrition

Experience and acceptability of diets of varying protein content and glycemic index in an obese cohort: results from the Diogenes trial

A McConnon1, G W Horgan2, C Lawton3, J Stubbs4, R Shepherd1, A Astrup5, T Handjieva-Darlenska6, M Kunešová7, T M Larsen5, A K Lindroos8,9, J A Martinez10, A Papadaki11, A F H Pfeiffer12,13, M A van Baak14 and M M Raats1

  1. 1The Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre, School Psychology, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK
  2. 2Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland, Scotland, UK
  3. 3Human Appetite Research Unit, Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  4. 4Nutrition Department, Slimming World, Derbyshire, UK
  5. 5Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sport, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  6. 6National Multiprofile Transport Hospital, Sofia, Bulgaria
  7. 7Department of Sport Medicine, Charles University in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic
  8. 8MRC Human Nutrition Research, Elsie Widdowson Laboratory, Cambridge, UK
  9. 9National Food Agency, Uppsala, Sweden
  10. 10Department of Physiology and Nutrition, University of Navarra, Navarra, Spain
  11. 11Department of Social Medicine, Preventive Medicine and Nutrition Clinic, Heraklion, Greece
  12. 12Department of Clinical Nutrition, German Institute of Human Nutrition, Potsdam, Arthur-Scheunert Allee 114-116, Nuthetal, Germany
  13. 13Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  14. 14NUTRIM, School for Nutrition, Toxicology and Metabolism, Department of Human Biology, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Correspondence: Dr A McConnon, School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Science, Woodview House, Belfield, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland. E-mail: aine.mcconnon@ucd.ie

Received 5 December 2012; Revised 11 March 2013; Accepted 13 March 2013
Advance online publication 19 June 2013





To investigate acceptability and tolerability of diets of different protein and glycemic index (GI) content aimed at weight maintenance following a phase of rapid weight loss, as part of a large pan-European dietary intervention trial.



The Diogenes study (www.diogenes-eu.org) consisted of an initial 8-week rapid weight-loss phase (800–1000kcal/day), followed by a 6-month weight maintenance intervention with five different diets varying in protein and GI content. Measurement of a range of outcomes relating to experience of the Diogenes diets in terms of acceptability, experience and mood were recorded via end of day questionnaires throughout the study.



Weight change during the initial weight loss phase weakly, but positively correlated with acceptability of the programme (r range=−0.08 to 0.2, Pless than or equal to0.05, n=685 on four of five dimensions). Success at weight maintenance positively correlated with acceptance of the programme (r range=−0.21 to −0.34, P<0.001, n=540 for all five dimensions). The diets with higher protein content were more acceptable than the low protein (LP) diets, however, no differences between the high vs low GI diets were found concerning acceptability and tolerability.



Results suggest that moderately high protein diets, compared with LP diets, are more acceptable diets for weight control in overweight individuals.


diet acceptability; diet tolerability; obesity; protein; glycemic index

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