Carbohydrates and cardiovascular disease risk.
Maybe you have been told that it’s the fat in your diet that will increase your cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. To improve your numbers and cardiovascular risk you should decrease your fat intake and eat more carbohydrates, but will that produce good results?
If you’ve tried that without paying attention to what kinds of carbohydrates you ate, you probably discovered that it did not work very well.
Maybe you were told as the advertisements say, if diet and exercise does not work you should take medication. What the advertisements did not say was that you need to try an effective diet.
Not all carbohydrates are the same and will produce the same results. We all know that sugar is not healthy, but did you know that sugar will increase your cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol(Te Morenga LA, et al. 2014)?
It’s not only sugar that is having this effect. Other carbohydrates which have a high glycemic index(the type that elevates the blood glucose high) will also increase cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL. If you instead eat low glycemic index carbohydrates(that’s the type that will stabilize your blood glucose at a low normal level) you will see your cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL decrease(Jenkins DJ, et al. 1985). This was even known in 1985 so it is not exactly news, but some research is still conducted today where this is not taken into consideration, where all carbohydrates are presented like they were producing the same results.
Here is an interesting example for you comparing white rice with beans(Mattei J, et al. 2011). An increase in servings of white rice increased systolic blood pressure, increased triglycerides and fasting blood glucose, while it decreased HDL cholesterol, the so called good cholesterol.
An increase in servings of beans were instead associated with lower blood pressure, lower triglycerides and an increase in HDL.
How about inflammation, that’s one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Is inflammation affected by the type of carbohydrates you eat?
Absolutely, glycemic load which is another way of rating how high a food will elevate the blood glucose, was found to be significantly associated with hs-CRP, the main inflammatory marker for cardiovascular risk(Liu S, et al. 2002).
Eating food with a higher glycemic load increased inflammation.
The more fiber the food contains, the more it tends to slow down the absorption of the glucose in the food.
So when high fiber intake was compared with low fiber intake it was found that the higher fiber intake lowered hs-CRP(Ma Y, et al. 2006).
Does that mean that food with the same fiber content will produce the same results?
Even if that sounds reasonable, that’s not the way it works.
When a low glycemic index diet were type 2 diabetes participants were encouraged to increase their daily legume(beans,lentils) intake with at least 1 cup per day were compared with another group eating a high wheat fiber diet, this is what they found.
The legume diet was more effective than the diet high in wheat fiber when it came to lowering HbA1c, a measurement of long term glucose control. It was also more effective in reducing the cardiovascular risk score(Jenkins DJ, et al. 2012).
As a low glycemic index carbohydrate source, nothing seems to be as effective as beans and lentils.
Learn to Eat: Recommendations that work. This is not a regular diet program.
Jenkins DJ1, Kendall CW, Augustin LS, Mitchell S, Sahye-Pudaruth S, Blanco Mejia S, Chiavaroli L, Mirrahimi A, Ireland C, Bashyam B, Vidgen E, de Souza RJ, Sievenpiper JL, Coveney J, Leiter LA, Josse RG. Effect of legumes as part of a low glycemic index diet on glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med. 2012 Nov 26;172(21):1653-60.
Jenkins DJ, Wolever TM, Kalmusky J, Giudici S, Giordano C, Wong GS, Bird JN, Patten R, Hall M, Buckley G, et al. Low glycemic index carbohydrate foods in the management of hyperlipidemia. Am J Clin Nutr. 1985 Oct;42(4):604-17.
Liu S1, Manson JE, Buring JE, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Ridker PM. Relation between a diet with a high glycemic load and plasma concentrations of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein in middle-aged women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Mar;75(3):492-8.
Mattei J1, Hu FB, Campos H. A higher ratio of beans to white rice is associated with lower cardiometabolic risk factors in Costa Rican adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Sep;94(3):869-76. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.013219. Epub 2011 Aug 3.
Ma Y1, Griffith JA, Chasan-Taber L, Olendzki BC, Jackson E, Stanek EJ 3rd, Li W, Pagoto SL, Hafner AR, Ockene IS. Association between dietary fiber and serum C-reactive protein. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Apr;83(4):760-6.
Te Morenga LA1, Howatson AJ1, Jones RM1, Mann J1. Dietary sugars and cardiometabolic risk: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials of the effects on blood pressure and lipids. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jul;100(1):65-79. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.081521. Epub 2014 May 7.