High GI foods linked to cataracts

December 5, 2007 in Nutrition for Older Adults, Nutrition Topics in the News

High GI foods linked to cataracts

People who eat plenty of high glycemic index (GI) foods may be upping their chances of developing a cataract, say Welsh researchers.

Glycemic index refers to how quickly a carbohydrate-rich food such as bread, rice, potato and fruit causes a rise in blood sugar.

High GI foods - white bread, white potatoes, white rice - cause a rapid spike in blood sugar. Whenever possible, try substituting these foods with low GI alternatives - whole grain bread, sweet potatoes, brown or wild rice - to help create a more gradual increase in blood sugar.

This new report, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, looked at the link between certain carbohydrates and the development of cataracts in over 900 middle-aged subjects. The amount and type of carbohydrates eaten were tracked for up to 10 years.

People who ate the most high GI carbohydrates were 77 percent more likely to develop a cataract than people who consumed the lowest amount of high GI foods.

Cataracts start off small and gradually narrow the field of vision by clouding the lens of the eye with a white film. Previous research has found that eating a diet that is rich in antioxidants, like vitamin C and E, can help prevent the formation of cataracts.   

Kiwis, guava, red peppers, oranges and grapefruits are particularly high in vitamin C. Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils, almonds, sunflower seeds and wheat germ.

Click here for more information on glycemic index, or check out Leslie Beck's 10 Steps to Healthy Eating.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.