Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Eating high glycemic index foods may put women at higher risk for heart disease | Booster Shots | Los Angeles Times

Eating high glycemic index foods may put women at higher risk for heart disease | Booster Shots | Los Angeles Times

All carbohydrates are not created equal, at least when it comes to heart disease. A new study released today finds that carbs with a high glycemic index--those that spike blood glucose levels quickly--may be linked with a higher risk of coronary heart disease in women.

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Foods were analyzed to determine their glycemic index and glycemic load. The glycemic index measures how carbs effect blood sugar levels. High glycemic index foods are quickly digested and release glucose quickly into the bloodstream, making glucose levels jump. High-glycemic index foods include baked potatoes, watermelon and rice. Low glycemic index foods slowly release glucose into the bloodstream, keeping blood glucose levels more steady. Those foods include most fruits and vegetables, plus pasta and milk. Glycemic load refers to a food's ranking according to how many total grams of carbohydrate it has along with its glycemic index, and is found using a formula.

Other studies have found that high-carb diets increase triglycerides and lower HDL ("good") cholesterol levels as well as boosting blood glucose and insulin.

The Italian researchers discovered that the 25% of the women who ate the most amount of carbs had about twice the risk of heart disease as the 25% who ate the least amount of carbs. In terms of quality versus quantity carbs, quality won out: eating more high-glycemic index foods was more strongly linked with a greater risk of coronary heart disease than eating low-glycemic index foods. In the study, the authors wrote, "a high consumption of carbohydrates from high-glycemic index foods, rather than the overall quantity of carbohydrates consumed, appears to influence the risk of developing coronary heart disease."

Low Bone Mass in Subjects on a Long-term Raw Vegetarian Diet

Arch Intern Med -- Abstract: Low Bone Mass in Subjects on a Long-term Raw Vegetarian Diet, March 28, 2005, Fontana et al. 165 (6): 684

Low Bone Mass in Subjects on a Long-term Raw Vegetarian Diet

Luigi Fontana, MD, PhD; Jennifer L. Shew, BS; John O. Holloszy, MD; Dennis T. Villareal, MD

Arch Intern Med. 2005;165:684-689.

Background Little is known regarding the health effects of a raw food (RF) vegetarian diet.

Methods We performed a cross-sectional study on 18 volunteers (mean ± SD age, 54.2 ± 11.5 years; male/female ratio, 11:7) on a RF vegetarian diet for a mean of 3.6 years and a comparison age- and sex-matched group eating typical American diets. We measured body composition, bone mineral content and density, bone turnover markers (C-telopeptide of type I collagen and bone-specific alkaline phosphatase), C-reactive protein, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, insulin-like growth factor 1, and leptin in serum.

Results The RF vegetarians had a mean ± SD body mass index (calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters) of 20.5 ± 2.3, compared with 25.4 ± 3.3 in the control subjects. The mean bone mineral content and density of the lumbar spine (P= .003 and P<.001, respectively) and hip (P = .01 and P<.001, respectively) were lower in the RF group than in the control group. Serum C-telopeptide of type I collagen and bone-specific alkaline phosphatase levels were similar between the groups, while the mean 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration was higher in the RF group than in the control group (P<.001). The mean serum C-reactive protein (P = .03), insulinlike growth factor 1 (P = .002), and leptin (P = .005) were lower in the RF group.

Conclusion A RF vegetarian diet is associated with low bone mass at clinically important skeletal regions but is without evidence of increased bone turnover or impaired vitamin D status.