Current Nutrition Reports

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 379–386 | Cite as

The Role of Protein and Carbohydrates for Long-Term Weight Control: Lessons from the Diogenes Trial

  • Aurora Perez-Cornago
  • Marleen A. van Baak
  • Wim H. M. Saris
  • J. Alfredo MartínezEmail author
  • Arne Astrup
Public Health and Translational Medicine (PW Franks, Section Editor)


Current therapies to manage obesity are based on energy restriction and physical activity promotion. However, the role of specific dietary components for long-term weight maintenance is under debate. This review aims to illustrate some lessons from the pan-European Diogenes study, a randomized, controlled dietary intervention study, which investigated the role of dietary protein and glycemic index (GI) on weight maintenance in overweight/obese European families. For 6 months, families were randomly assigned to five ad libitum weight-maintenance diets: low-protein (LP)/low-GI (LGI), LP/high-GI (HGI), high-protein (HP)/LGI, HP/HGI, and a control diet. The main result was that the HP/LGI diet was more successful for maintaining weight loss, and has beneficial effects on cardiometabolic risks. Outcomes regarding gender, age, the model of delivery, genetic factors, and benefits on insulin sensitivity, cardiovascular risk, bone turnover, and inflammation are also reported.


Weight maintenance Weight loss Overweight Obesity Diet Protein Glycemic index Carbohydrates Fatty acids Low-calorie diet Personalized nutrition Nutrigenomics Metabolic syndrome 



The Diogenes trial was funded by the European Commission, contract no. FP6-2005-513946. The funding source had no role in the study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, or writing of the report. We are grateful to the project staff and all the contributors to the project. More information about the study can be found at: Also, the authors wish to express gratitude to the Universities of Maastricht (NL), Copenhagen (DK), and Navarra (E), as well as to the CIBERobn network (Instituto Carlos III, Madrid, Spain). The authors declare no conflicts of interest concerning this review.

Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Aurora Perez-Cornago declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Marleen A. van Baak declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Wim H.M. Saris declares that he has no conflict of interest.

J. Alfredo Martínez declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Arne Astrup has received research support through the European Commission, contract no. FP6-2005-513946; has received research support through grants from Arla Foods AMBA (DK), The Danish Dairy Research Foundation (DK), Global Dairy Platform (US), and The Danish Agriculture and Food Foundation (DK); and has received compensation from Global Dairy Platform (US), McCain Foods Limited (US), and McDonald’s (US) for service as a consultant.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of outstanding importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aurora Perez-Cornago
    • 1
  • Marleen A. van Baak
    • 2
    • 5
  • Wim H. M. Saris
    • 2
  • J. Alfredo Martínez
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Arne Astrup
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Physiology, Center for Nutrition ResearchUniversity of NavarraPamplonaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Human Biology, Nutrition and Toxicology Research Institute MaastrichtUniversity of MaastrichtMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.CIBER Fisiopatología Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBERObn)Instituto de Salud Carlos IIIMadridSpain
  4. 4.Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sport, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of CopenhagenFrederiksberg CDenmark
  5. 5.NUTRIM School for Nutrition, Toxicology and Metabolism, Department of Human BiologyMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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