ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
Naprapathy: A Hands-On Approach to Pain Management
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
In Elderly Women, Hip Fractures Often Follow Arm Breaks
Fruits and Veggies May Strengthen Bones
CANCER
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
CAREGIVING
Recession Scrambling Health Spending in U.S.
Organ Donation Policies Vary Among Children's Hospitals
With Age Comes Greater Risk of Hypothermia
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
DIABETES
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Fatty Acid in Olive Oil Wards Off Hunger
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Heavy Traffic Can Be Heartbreaking
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
Ozone Pollution Taking Toll on American Lives
EYE CARE, VISION
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
FITNESS
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Food and Water Supply Poisoned by Perchlorate
Health Gains From Lowered Smoking Rates in Jeopardy
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
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
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Traffic Seems to Make Kids' Asthma Worse
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
MENTAL HEALTH
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
SENIORS
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
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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