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Chiropractic Research Review

White Bread, Other High-Glycemic Foods Increase Risk of Type-2 Diabetes

The prevalence of type-2 diabetes, also called non-insulin dependent diabetes, continues to rise worldwide. According to the latest estimates, more than 18 million Americans currently suffer from type-2 diabetes.

Previous research suggests that refined cereal products and foods with a high glycemic index (GI) - which measures how fast a food is likely to raise your blood sugar - may increase the risk of diabetes, while fruits, vegetables and foods high in fiber may reduce diabetes risk.

In this study, Australian researchers examined the dietary habits of 36,787 men and women (ages of 40 and 69) who did not have diabetes. Dietary information was collected using a food frequency questionnaire, with particular attention paid to glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load. A follow-up questionnaire was administered four years later to ascertain whether any of the patients had been diagnosed with diabetes; confirmation of diabetes was later obtained from licensed medical practitioners.

Results showed that high intakes of starch, total cereal foods, bread, white bread, and "other cereal" products (including sweet-flavored cereals) were associated with higher GI, while high intakes of fruit and vegetables were associated with lower GI. Bread intake, particularly white bread, also had a positive association with diabetes. Patients who consumed the highest quartile of white bread were 37 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than those with the least frequent bread intake. Intakes of total carbohydrates, sugars, and magnesium had an inverse association with the risk of developing diabetes; fiber had no influence on diabetes risk.

"Our data suggest that a diet with high carbohydrate content and a low GI may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes," the authors concluded. They added that white bread "was the food most strongly related to diabetes incidence and was also the most strongly associated with GI." The authors suggest that a "simple change" from white bread to breads with a lower glycemic index could reduce the risk of diabetes, and that "changing bread type may be a more acceptable dietary change than one requiring a whole new eating pattern."

Hodge AM, O'Dea K, English DR, Giles GG. Glycemic index and dietary fiber and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care November 2004;27(11):2701-2706.

Chiropractic Research Review

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