ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
Naprapathy: A Hands-On Approach to Pain Management
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
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
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
CANCER
Adding Garlic Might Cut Cancer Risk
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
CAREGIVING
Exercise During Pregnancy May Help Baby
With Alzheimer's, Health-Care Costs Could Triple
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
More Educated Choose Healthier Foods, But Pay More
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
Restaurant Sushi May Have More Mercury Than Store-Bought Fare
Small Doses of Carbon Monoxide Might Help Stroke Victims
EYE CARE, VISION
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
FITNESS
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
Moderate Aerobic Exercise Lowers Diabetics' Liver Fat
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Health Gains From Lowered Smoking Rates in Jeopardy
Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
Risk Factor for Stroke More Common Among Whites
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Pool Chemicals Raise Kids Allergy, Asthma Risk
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
Teen Stress May Have Roots in First Three Years of Life
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
SENIORS
Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
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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