High GI foods increase heart disease risk in women

April 13, 2010 in Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News, Women's Health

High GI foods increase heart disease risk in women
New study findings suggest that consuming carbohydrates with a high glycemic index, an indicator of how quickly a food affects blood glucose levels, appears to be associated with the risk of coronary heart disease in women but not men.

The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, followed over 47,000 Italian adults for nearly eight years.  Participants completed dietary questionnaires, which researchers analyzed. 

During the eight-year follow up period researchers found that women who consumed the most carbohydrates had approximately twice the risk of heart disease as those consumed the least.

When these carbohydrates were separated into high and low glycemic index categories, researchers found an increased intake of high glycemic index foods was significantly associated with greater risk of coronary heart disease, whereas low glycemic index carbohydrates were not.

The women whose diet had the highest glycemic load had 2.24 times the risk of heart disease compared to women with the lowest glycemic load.

Interestingly, overall carbohydrate intake, glycemic index and glycemic load were not associated with heart disease risk in men.

Although more studies are needed on the subject, researchers speculate it's the quality, rather than quantity, of carbohydrates consumed that appears to influence the risk of coronary heart disease.

The glycemic index is a measure of how much a food raises blood glucose levels compared with the same amount of glucose or white bread. A related measure, the glycemic load, is calculated based on the glycemic index of a given food and also on the total amount of carbohydrates it contains.

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.