New research suggests that women who eat high levels of carbohydrates run double the risk of heart problems compared with those eating the least.
The diets of 15,000 men and 32,000 women were examined, and researchers calculated the total consumption of carbohydrates. After eight years of follow-up, 158 women and 305 men developed coronary heart disease.
The study found the danger lies in refined carbohydrates which often have a high Glycaemic Index (GI) score. The GI rates how quickly glucose is released into the bloodstream after eating, with a ranking from 0 to 100. High GI foods cause a surge in blood sugar, The Hindu informs.
According to HealthDay News, 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 one-fourth of women whose diet had the highest glycemic load had 2.24 times the risk of heart disease compared with the one-fourth of women with the lowest glycemic load.
Overall carbohydrate intake, glycemic index and glycemic load were not associated with heart disease risk in men, Daily News & Analysis informs.