High Carb, Low Glycemic Index Diet May Cut Heart Risk

In high-carb diet, lowering glycemic index nearly doubles fat loss

MONDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- High-carbohydrate diets low in glycemic index may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a study in the July 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Joanna McMillan-Price, of the University of Sydney in Australia, and colleagues randomly assigned 129 obese or overweight young adults aged 18 to 40 to one of four reduced-calorie, reduced-fat diets for a 12-week period. Two diets were high-carbohydrate diets and two were high-protein. One of each had a high glycemic load and the others had low glycemic loads.

Between the two high-carbohydrate diets, lowering the glycemic index nearly doubled fat loss. The effect was stronger in women and did not occur among those on high-protein diets. Participants on the high-protein, high-glycemic index diet had increased levels of total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, while those on the high-protein, low-glycemic index diet and high carbohydrate, low-glycemic index diet showed reductions in total and LDL cholesterol. All other cardiovascular risk factors were similar among the four groups.

Given the popularity of low-glycemic index and low-carb diets, future studies "will continue to provide welcome insights in a field that is often shrouded with confusion," states the author of an accompanying editorial.

McMillan-Price is coauthor of The Low GI Diet Revolution, and the study was supported by Meat and Livestock Australia.

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