ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
Quit Smoking the Holistic Way
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Most Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Lack Vitamin D
Put Your Best Foot Forward Next Year
Vitamin D Plus Calcium Guards Against Fractures
CANCER
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Yoga Eases Sleep Problems Among Cancer Survivors
CAREGIVING
Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
Distance No Bar to Kidney Transplants in Remote Areas
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
DIABETES
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Just Say No to Nuts During Pregnancy
HELP TO LOSE WEIGHT ON A LOW CAL BUDGET
Probiotics Are The Good Guys
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Vitamin D Deficit May Trigger MS Risk Gene
Clear Skies Have Become Less So Over Time, Data Show
Arsenic in Drinking Water Raises Diabetes Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
Retinal Gene Is Linked to Childhood Blindness
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
FITNESS
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
Seniors Who Exercise Help Their Health
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Laugh and the World Understands
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Pool Chemicals Raise Kids Allergy, Asthma Risk
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
SENIORS
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Add your Article

Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women

A diet rich in carbohydrates that are quickly transformed into sugar in the blood raises the risk of heart disease for women, a new Italian study finds.

The same effect, however, is not seen in men, according to the report, published April 12 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study, by researchers at Italy's National Cancer Institute, looked not only at total carbohydrate intake but also at what is known as the glycemic index of those carbohydrates -- a measure of how quickly and to what extent blood sugar rises after intake of specific carbohydrates.

Carbohydrate foods with similar calorie content can show widely different scores on the glycemic index. Carbohydrates with a high glycemic index include corn flakes, white bread and white rice. Those with lower scores include whole wheat products and sweet potatoes.

"A high glycemic index is known to increase the concentration of triglycerides and lower the concentration of HDL cholesterol, the good kind," explained Victoria J. Drake, director of the Micronutrient Information Center at the Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University, who has studied the subject. "Those adverse effects make it a stronger risk factor for heart disease."

The Italian researchers got their information on dietary intake from questionnaires filled out by 15,171 men and 32,578 women. Following them for nearly eight years, the researchers found that women who consumed the most carbohydrates overall had about twice the incidence of heart disease as those who consumed the least. Closer analysis showed that the risk was associated with higher intake of high-glycemic foods.

"Thus, a high consumption of carbohydrates from high-glycemic index foods, rather than the overall quantity of carbohydrates consumed, appears to influence the influence of developing coronary heart disease," the researchers wrote.

Previous studies have seen the same effect in other groups of women, Drake said. They include the Nurses Health Study, done in the United States, and studies of women in the Netherlands.

No effect from total carbohydrate consumption or consumption of foods with a high-glycemic index was seen in men in the Italian study, a pattern also seen in other studies, Drake added.

"There is definitely a gender difference," she noted.

The difference might be due to the action of sex hormones, the researchers speculate. Male hormones, androgens, appear to slow the transformation of carbohydrates into blood sugar, whereas the female hormone estrogen speeds the process, she said.

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of women and heart disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said the study shows the need for women to be more aware of the nature of the carbohydrates in their diet.

"An emphasis needs to be placed on a diet that is not simply low in carbohydrates but rather low in simple sugars, as measured by the glycemic index," Steinbaum said.

There's a simple way to determine the glycemic index of a food, she said.

"Look at the label," Steinbaum said. "It says 'carbohydrates.' Under that, it says 'sugars.' When you have a high number for sugars, that's a way to know what the glycemic index is."

That index can differ widely in foods that don't appear to be different, she said. One breakfast cereal may have a sugar content of 16 grams, but another may have just 3 grams to 6 grams.

"If you see a high level of sugar, that's the one to stay away from," Steinbaum said.

SOURCES: Victoria J. Drake, Ph.D., research associate, Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, Portland; Suzanne Steinbaum, D.O., director, women and heart disease, Heart and Vascular Institute, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; April 12, 2010, Archives of Internal Medicine Published on: April 12, 2010