- Vitamin Guide
- Health Conditions
- Health Centers
- Diet & Weight Loss
- Herbal Remedies
- Current News
- Food Guide
To study dietary carbohydrates and inflammation, researchers invited 41 normal weight and 41 overweight and obese, 18- to 25-year-old adults to participate in a study. Participants were randomly selected to follow one of two diets for 28 days. The groups then switched diets, so that everyone followed both diets, for 28 days each. Blood measures of inflammation were collected throughout the study.
The diets were identical in terms of calories and amounts of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, but the carbohydrate type was different. One diet contained predominantly high-glycemic load (GL) carbohydrates, while the other contained low-GL carbohydrates. Glycemic load is a measure of how quickly carbohydrate is turned into blood sugar in the body.
Generally, slower digesting, complex carbohydrates are considered healthier, leading to sustained energy and blood sugar levels. Eating simple carbohydrates, on the other hand, such as those found in regular soda, desserts, cakes, pies, and refined grains, can raise blood sugar, and insulin levels, quickly. Fluctuating blood sugar and insulin may increase a person’s likelihood of developing diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic health conditions over the long term.
Compared with the high-GL diet, C-reactive protein (CRP) levels went down and levels of a different blood marker (adiponectin) increased during the low-GL diet. Decreased CRP may signal improved health, because high CRP levels mean more inflammation, and are linked with higher disease risk. Increased levels also are a positive, because this substance improves the body’s insulin regulation, and has anti-inflammatory effects on cells lining blood vessels. Higher levels are linked with lower heart attack risk, and being overweight seems to suppress the body’s adiponectin production.
Use our tips on how to include more healthful, low-GL foods in your diet:
(J Nutr 2012;142:369–74)