• Categories

  • Syndicate

  • Archives

Bread: The Staff of Death?

Posted by bmagnus On April - 14 - 2010

You’ve been told over and over how bread is the “staff of life.” But new research tends to show that bread and other high glycemic index foods can lead to heart disease and death — for women, anyway.

This week, results of a huge study were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers in Italy followed over 47,000 people including over 32,000 women for almost 8 years. They found that women who ate the most carbohydrates had the twice risk of heart attack. However, they also found that the more “High GI” foods they ate, the risk of heart disease was greater. Oddly enough, they did not find the same association between High GI food consumption and heart disease in men. This difference needs more research, but is currently theorized to be due to “hormonal differences” rather than men under-reporting their consumption of rice, bread, and pizza.

It’s worth taking a moment to point out that the women who consumed the most carbs had a daily average intake of 338 grams a day, and those who consumed the least still ate about 234 grams a day — the low end is still within Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations, but far above what our ancestors ate. Even someone on the low end ate over 930 calories of carbohydrate alone, before accounting for any protein or fats. Unfortunately, the abstract of the paper does not give us any insight into the weight or BMI of the participants, nor how that changed over the course of the study.

An unrelated meta-study of 21 studies involving over 350,000 people was also released this week. One subset of data involving over 53,000 men and women showed that “among the people with the highest average dietary glycemic index, every 5 percent increase in carbohydrate calories upped heart attack risk by 33 percent. For people whose average glycemic index fell in the middle, an increase in carb intake along with a reduction in saturated fatty acid intake had no effect on heart risk.” So don’t think you’re safe eating lots of High GI foods just because you’re a man!

High glycemic index foods include not only bread and pizza, but also most cereals, baked goods, potatoes, sugar, candy (of course), and white rice. Somehow, pasta is not considered a High GI item. However, the problem is that most people tend to eat far more than one 2 oz. portion when they eat pasta.

The most practical way to put this research to use in your life is to try and get the majority of your carbohydrates from unsweetened fruits and vegetables. Have the chef salad instead of the ham and turkey sandwich, for example — but careful with the dressing. No reputable scientist has ever come out against eating more veggies.

Comments are closed.