Danger doesn't affect men, who process carbohydrates more slowly, expert says
MONDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- A diet rich in carbohydrates that are quickly transformed into sugar in the blood raises the risk of heart disease for women, a new Italian study finds.
The same effect, however, is not seen in men, according to the report, published April 12 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The study, by researchers at Italy's National Cancer Institute, looked not only at total carbohydrate intake but also at what is known as the glycemic index of those carbohydrates -- a measure of how quickly and to what extent blood sugar rises after intake of specific carbohydrates.
Carbohydrate foods with similar calorie content can show widely different scores on the glycemic index. Carbohydrates with a high glycemic index include corn flakes, white bread and white rice. Those with lower scores include whole wheat products and sweet potatoes.
"A high glycemic index is known to increase the concentration of triglycerides and lower the concentration of HDL cholesterol, the good kind," explained Victoria J. Drake, director of the Micronutrient Information Center at the Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University, who has studied the subject. "Those adverse effects make it a stronger risk factor for heart disease."
The Italian researchers got their information on dietary intake from questionnaires filled out by 15,171 men and 32,578 women. Following them for nearly eight years, the researchers found that women who consumed the most carbohydrates overall had about twice the incidence of heart disease as those who consumed the least. Closer analysis showed that the risk was associated with higher intake of high-glycemic foods.
"Thus, a high consumption of carbohydrates from high-glycemic index foods, rather than the overall quantity of carbohydrates consumed, appears to influence the in
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