ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Cranberries May Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Returning to the Road Tricky After Injury
Fractures in Older Adults Up Death Risk
Human Ancestors Put Best Foot Forward 1.5M Years Ago
CANCER
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
CAREGIVING
Birthmark or Blood Vessel Problem?
Tiniest Babies Carry Biggest Costs
Older Caregivers Prone to Worse Sleep Patterns
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
DIET, NUTRITION
Purple Tomato Extended Lives of Cancer-Prone Mice
Milk Destroys Antioxidant Benefits in Blueberries
Adding Garlic Might Cut Cancer Risk
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Hairspray Exposure Ups Risk for Birth Defect in Sons
Global Warming Biggest Health Threat of 21st Century, Experts Say
U.S. Diet Needs Heart-Felt Overhaul
EYE CARE, VISION
Retinal Gene Is Linked to Childhood Blindness
Hybrid Cars Pose Risk to Blind, Visually Impaired
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
FITNESS
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
Seniors Who Exercise Help Their Health
Fall Cleanup Is a Prime Time for Accidents
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Simple Exercise Precautions To Help Keep Baby Boomers Fit
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Frequent Feedings May Be Making Babies Fat
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
SENIORS
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
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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