Sugar is bad, who knew?

January 25, 2012

High glycemic load carbohydrates (ie, sugar and refined grains) in a diet lead to higher levels on inflammation. A new study done in Seattle fed two groups of adults identical quantities of carbohydrates with one group receiving high-glycemic-load carbohydrates (such as sugar and refined grains) while the other got low-glycemic-load carbohydrates (such as whole grains, legumes and other high-fiber foods).

Glycemic load measures quickly a given amount of carbohydrates causes a rise in blood sugar (and thus in insulin levels).

Among overweight and obese adults, a diet rich in slowly digested carbohydrates, such as whole grains, legumes and other high-fiber foods, significantly reduces markers of inflammation associated with chronic disease, according to a new study by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Such a "low-glycemic-load" diet, which does not cause blood-glucose levels to spike, also increases a hormone that helps regulate the metabolism of fat and sugar. ...

The controlled, randomized feeding study, which involved 80 healthy Seattle-area men and women – half of normal weight and half overweight or obese – found that among overweight and obese study participants, a low-glycemic-load diet reduced a biomarker of inflammation called C-reactive protein by about 22 percent.

"This finding is important and clinically useful since C-reactive protein is associated with an increased risk for many cancers as well as cardiovascular disease," said lead author Marian Neuhouser, Ph.D., R.D., a member of the Cancer Prevention Program in the Public Health Sciences Division at the Hutchinson Center. "Lowering inflammatory factors is important for reducing a broad range of health risks. Showing that a low-glycemic-load diet can improve health is important for the millions of Americans who are overweight or obese."

Neuhouser and colleagues also found that among overweight and obese study participants, a low-glycemic-load diet modestly increased – by about 5 percent – blood levels of a protein hormone called adiponectin. This hormone plays a key role in protecting against several cancers, including breast cancer, as well as metabolic disorders such as type-2 diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and hardening of the arteries.



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