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Quality Of Dietary Carbohydrates May Determine Quality Of Eye Sight

In older adults Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is one of the primary causes of vision loss and a person's risk to develop the disease may partly depend upon his diet.// The quality of the carbohydrates consumed must be of primary concern rather than the quantity, according to a research led by Allen Taylor, PhD, director of the Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research , at Tufts University. Their findings were published in theApril 2006 issue of the the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Taylor and colleagues analyzed data from a sub-group of participants in the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) who were enrolled in the Nutrition and Vision Program. The researchers looked at the total amount of carbohydrates consumed over 10 years and the dietary glycemic index, which is a measure of the quality of overall dietary carbohydrate.

"Women who consumed diets with a relatively high dietary glycemic index had greater risk of developing signs of early age-related macular degeneration when compared with women who consumed diets with a lower dietary glycemic index," says lead 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. High total carbohydrate intake, however, did not significantly increase the risk factor for AMD.

"In other words, the types of carbohydrates being consumed were more important than the absolute amount," explains Taylor, senior author. A high-glycemic-index diet is one that is rich in high-glycemic-index foods, which are converted more rapidly to blood sugar in the body than are low-glycemic-index foods.

Chiu, Taylor, and colleagues examined the eyes of more than 500 women between 53 and 73 years of age, looking for changes indicative of early AMD. The researchers also analyzed the participants' diets, as reported in questionnaires that had been administered periodically over the
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