High Glycemic Load Linked to CHD Risk in Women

Carbohydrate intake from high glycemic index foods also linked to higher risk in women, not men
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- In women in an Italian cohort, high dietary glycemic load and carbohydrate intake from high glycemic index foods are associated with a higher overall risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), but this association is not seen in men, according to research published in the April 12 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Sabina Sieri, Ph.D., of the Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori in Milan, Italy, and colleagues analyzed data from 47,749 subjects -- 15,171 men and 32,578 women -- who answered food-frequency questionnaires to assess dietary habits during the previous year. Participants were followed for a median of 7.9 years.

The researchers found that women in the highest quartile of carbohydrate intake had a higher risk of CHD compared to those in the lowest (relative risk, 2.00). Increasing carbohydrate intake from high glycemic index foods also was associated with greater CHD risk in women (relative risk 1.68). Women in the highest quartile of glycemic load had a higher risk of CHD than those in the lowest (relative risk, 2.24). Significant associations were not seen in men.

"In conclusion, in this Italian cohort we found that a high dietary glycemic load and the intake of carbohydrates from high-glycemic index foods increase the overall risk of CHD in women but not men. We tentatively suggest that the adverse effects of a high glycemic diet in women are mediated by sex-related differences in lipoprotein and glucose metabolism, but further prospective studies are required to verify a lack of association of a high dietary glycemic load with cardiovascular disease in men," the authors conclude.

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