Women's Heart Advisor April 2015 Issue

What You Should Know about Carbohydrates and Heart Disease

What You Should Know about Carbohydrates and Heart Disease

You may not need to worry about glycemic index after all. Choosing whole foods is still the key to a heart-healthy diet.

If you are up-to-date on food fads, you may have read about diets built around the glycemic index (GI). GI is a way of measuring how much your blood sugar rises in response to eating carbohydrates. Foods with a high-GI are absorbed quickly and cause blood sugar to rise higher in the two hours after consumption than foods with the same amount of carbohydrates that have a low or medium GI. Because low-GI foods are digested more slowly, they help maintain consistent blood sugar levels. This is important for people with diabetes. But if you don’t have diabetes, and you are already eating a heart-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, a recent study found that GI doesn’t matter. “You don’t have to be concerned about GI any more. A heart-healthy diet doesn’t have to be that complex,” says Cleveland Clinic dietitian Kate Patton, MEd, RD, CSSD.

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