Scientists from the University of Toronto found that a diet high in glycemic index is linked to an increased heart disease risk and death.
The glycaemic index (GI) is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates. It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own.
Some vegetables and fruits, legumes, milk, plain yogurt, dark chocolate, and nuts are food low in glycemic index.
On the other hand, white and whole wheat bread, white rice, breakfast cereals and cereal bars, cakes, cookies, sweet treats, potatoes and fries, chips and rice crackers are food high in glycemic index.
The glycemic index can not only help increase your awareness of what you’re putting on your plate but also enhance weight loss, decrease your blood sugar levels, and reduce your cholesterol.
Glycemic load is a measure that takes into account the number of carbohydrates in a portion of food together with how quickly it raises blood glucose levels.
Glycemic load helps you account for both the quantity and the quality of your carbs at the same time. Less than 10 is low; more than 20 is high.
Most findings about the association between the glycemic index and heart disease come from Western populations, with little information from non-Western countries.
In the study, researchers aimed to fill this gap and they used data from 137,851 participants between the ages of 35 and 70 years living on five continents, with a follow-up of 9.5 years.
The team used country-specific food-frequency questionnaires to determine food intake and glycemic index and glycemic load.
In the participants, 8780 deaths and 8252 heart disease events occurred during the follow-up period.
The researchers found that a diet with a high glycemic index was linked to an increased risk of a heart disease event or death, regardless of heart disease history.
A high glycemic index was also linked to a higher risk of death from heart disease.
The results with respect to glycemic load were similar to the findings regarding the glycemic index among the participants with heart disease at the beginning,
In people without heart disease, there was no strong link found between glycemic index and heart disease risk.
Based on the findings, the researchers concluded that a diet with a high glycemic index is linked to higher risks of heart disease and death.
The research is published in The New England Journal of Medicine and was conducted by David Jenkins et al.
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