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High Glycemic Diets and Inflammation

By Elaine Moore on 10/3/2011

Oct 3, 2011

A study conducted by Paul Mitchell and his colleagues at the University of Sydney in Australia showed that a high-glycemic diet increases the risk of inflammatory-related mortality. During the study of 2,735 middle-aged and older subjects, 170 participants died from inflammatory diseases, usually related to infection, respiratory disorders, nervous system diseases, digestive system disorders, and musculoskeletal diseases.

Glycemic index refers to the ability of foods to raise blood sugar levels. High glycemic foods, such as potatoes, bread, and bagels, cause a rapid blood sugar rise and contribute to inflammation and metabolic syndrome. The marker for inflammation that is commonly used is the C-Reactive Protein (CRP) level. High levels are associated with increased inflammation in autoimmune disorders, heart disease and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.

Diets such as The Zone promote weight loss by emphasizing foods with a low glycemic index. Supplements such as cinnamon, chromium and glutamine are widely used to help maintain a steady blood glucose level, reducing surges of insulin.

Source: Buyken, AE; Flood, V; Empson, M, et al., "Carbohydrate nutrition and inflammatory disease mortality in older adults," American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2010l 92: 634-643.

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