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New Data Reinforces Correlation Between Carbohydrate Quality and Loss of Vision

The quality of carbohydrates that a person eats may be directly correlated to Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and its related loss of vision. This is according to a new study by Allen Taylor, PhD, director of the Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University, and colleagues. They published their findings in the July issue of l the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. These findings reinforce the earlier study linking dietary glycemic index with the risk of developing AMD.

"Men and women who consumed diets with a higher glycemic index than average for their gender and age-group were at greater risk of developing advanced AMD," corresponding author Taylor says. "The severity of AMD increased with increasing dietary glycemic index." Glycemic index is a scale applied to foods based on how quickly the carbohydrates in foods are converted to blood sugar, or glucose.

Foods like white rice, pasta and bread are examples of foods with a high-glycemic-index, meaning that these foods are associated with a faster rise and subsequent drop in blood sugar. Whole wheat versions of rice, pasta and bread are examples of foods that have a low-glycemic-index. These foods are often considered higher quality carbohydrates because they are associated with a slower and less dramatic rise and fall of blood sugar.

"Our results build upon findings from an earlier, smaller study in which we determined that consuming a diet with a high glycemic index, but not one with a high total amount of carbohydrate, increased the risk of developing early AMD," says first author Chung-Jung Chiu, DDS, PhD, scientist in the Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research at the HNRCA and an assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine.

In the current study, Taylor, Chiu, and colleagues analyzed data from 4,099 men and women participating i
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