A new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that women who eat a high-gycemic diet have an increased risk of develping coronary artery disease. (A high-glycemic diet includes a lot of rapidly-absorbed carbohydrates. These are the kinds of carbohydrates most commonly found in processed foods, pastries and other baked goods, and candies. Here's more on high-glycemic foods.)
Investigators in Italy reported on over 47,000 volunteers who filled out a questionnaire on diet, then were followed for about eight years. Women who reported a high-carbohydrate diet (especially a high glycemc-index carbohydrate diet) were nearly twice as likely to develop coronary artery disease during the follow-up period than women who ate a low-carbohydrate diet. The same finding was not seen in the men in this study.
This study is consistent with a recent Cochrane review, which found that low-glycemic diets produced better weight loss and lipid profiles than other kinds of diets.
So, despite the continued emphasis by most cardiology professional societies on low-fat diets, the evidence continues to accumulate that low-carbohydrate diets - especially diets that emphasize low-glyemic-index carbohydrates - are beneficial for the heart. The "low fat vs. low carb" controversy continues, but it appears we are moving closer to a verdict.
Sieri S, Krogh V, Berrino F, et al. Dietary glycemic load and index and risk of coronary heart disease in a large Italian cohort. The EPICOR study. Arch Intern Med 2010; 170:640-647.
Thomas DE, Elliott EJ, Baur L. Low glycaemic index or low glycaemic load diets for overweight and obesity. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2007; 3: CD005105.