It is common knowledge that the food we consume directly impacts our body’s health. Carbohydrates have often been blamed for poor metabolism and weight issues. But, a new study suggests its not just carbohydrate in general, but the type of carbohydrate that you consume which impacts your health and well-being. Having a diet rich in “poor quality” carbohydrates have been shown to increase the risk of strokes, heart attack, or even death due to various complexities. It doesn’t even matter if the person has a pre-existing cardiovascular condition; such diets can cause these problems anyway.
The study was conducted through PURE (Population Urban and Rural Epidemiology) and helped by Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences.
It is one of the most diverse studies in this field, according to News Wise. “I have been studying the impact of high glycemic diets for many decades, and this study ratifies that the consumption of high amounts of poor quality carbohydrates is an issue worldwide,” said author David Jenkins.
It focused on five different continents and had 137,851 people aged 35 to 70 years old. The study followed their dietary lifestyle for 9.5 years. They focused on the glycemic index of each participant (which is the ranking of food based on their effect on blood sugar levels). The key here was to understand if a high-glycemic diet (rich in low-quality carbs) could affect the cardiovascular and cellular health of an individual. The study was solely focused on poor / low-quality carbs like white rice, white bread, sweetened foods, etc. High-quality carbs are lentils, legumes, vegetables and so on.
“Diets high in poor quality carbohydrates are associated with reduced longevity, while diets rich in high-quality carbohydrates such as fruit, vegetables and legumes have beneficial effects,” said Jenkins.
The glycemic index (GI) was then compared with glycemic load— which is the number of carbs in the diet times. During the whole study, there were 8,780 deaths and 8,252 major cardiovascular events.
Their observations revealed those with the highest 20% of glycemic index diet had a 50% increased risk of cardiovascular attack. The risks became higher for people with obesity.