Monday, April 12, 2010

Carbs and Heart attacks

Just spotted this:

Women Who Eat Foods With High Glycemic Index May Be at Greater Risk for Heart Disease

High-carbohydrate diets increase the levels of blood glucose and of harmful blood fats known as triglycerides while reducing levels of protective HDL or "good" cholesterol, thereby increasing heart disease risk, according to background information in the article.

Even the BBC picked up on it. They report:

The British Heart Foundation, said that for women, choosing lower GI foods could be useful in helping them to reduce their risk of coronary heart disease. She said: "They could try broadening the types of bread and cereals they eat to include granary, rye or oat; including more beans, pulses; and accompanying meals with a good helping of fruit and vegetables.

Of course the heresy would be to recommend that people - especially women - cut carbs of all sorts and eat more saturated fat and protein.


Here is the abstract

Dietary Glycemic Load and Index and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in a Large Italian Cohort

Background Dietary glycemic load (GL) and glycemic index (GI) in relation to cardiovascular disease have been investigated in a few prospective studies with inconsistent results, particularly in men. The present EPICOR study investigated the association of GI and GL with coronary heart disease (CHD) in a large and heterogeneous cohort of Italian men and women originally recruited to the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study.

Methods We studied 47 749 volunteers (15 171 men and 32 578 women) who completed a dietary questionnaire. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards modeling estimated adjusted relative risks (RRs) of CHD and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results During a median of 7.9 years of follow-up, 463 CHD cases (158 women and 305 men) were identified. Women in the highest carbohydrate intake quartile had a significantly greater risk of CHD than did those in the lowest quartile (RR, 2.00; 95% CI, 1.16-3.43), with no association found in men (P = .04 for interaction). Increasing carbohydrate intake from high-GI foods was also significantly associated with greater risk of CHD in women (RR, 1.68; 95% CI, 1.02-2.75), whereas increasing the intake of low-GI carbohydrates was not. Women in the highest GL quartile had a significantly greater risk of CHD than did those in the lowest quartile (RR, 2.24; 95% CI, 1.26-3.98), with no significant association in men (P = .03 for interaction).

Conclusion In this Italian cohort, high dietary GL and carbohydrate intake from high-GI foods increase the overall risk of CHD in women but not men.

3 comments:

Jamie Scott said...

Great link Chris. I find these comments from the study authors a bit incongruent with the BHF's recommendations:

"Women in the highest GL quartile had a significantly greater risk of CHD than did those in the lowest quartile (RR, 2.24; 95% CI, 1.26-3.98)."

"Conclusion In this Italian cohort, high dietary GL and carbohydrate intake from high-GI foods increase the overall risk of CHD in women but not men."

BHF recommendations:
"The British Heart Foundation, said that for women, choosing lower GI foods could be useful in helping them to reduce their risk of coronary heart disease. She said: "They could try broadening the types of bread and cereals they eat to include granary, rye or oat; including more beans, pulses; and accompanying meals with a good helping of fruit and vegetables."

The study authors specifically mention GL. So if we take a health conscious woman who wants to stay low fat but thinks she is OK loading up on wholegrain breads, cereals, pasta, etc, there is unlikely to be much reduction in risk overall.

Matt Metzgar said...

Or just eat Paleo carbs...

Mike T Nelson said...

I have not read the full study, but I have a hard time believe the GI or GL effected them that much, unless they were perhaps borderline diabetic.

Perhaps the AMOUNT of carbs has the biggest effect

"Women in the highest carbohydrate intake quartile had a significantly greater risk of CHD than did those in the lowest quartile (RR, 2.00; 95% CI, 1.16-3.43)"

Rock on
Mike T Nelson PhD(c)
Extreme Human Performance