A diet rich in slowly digested carbohydrates reduces a marker of inflammation called C-reactive protein (associated with an increased risk for many cancers as well as cardiovascular disease) by about 22% in people who are overweight and obese, according to a study by Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in The Journal of Nutrition.
Lead author Marian Neuhouser says, “Lowering inflammatory factors is important for reducing a broad range of health risks. Showing that a low-glycemic load diet can improve health is important for the millions of Americans who are overweight.”
Colleagues also found that among overweight and obese study participants, a low glycemic load diet modestly increased – by about 5% – blood levels of a protein hormone called adiponectin, which plays a key role in protecting against several cancers, including breast cancer, as well as metabolic disorders such as type-2 diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and hardening of the arteries.
“The bottom line is that when it comes to reducing markers of chronic-disease risk, not all carbohydrates are created equal. Quality matters,” says Neuhouser. “There are easy dietary changes people can make. Whenever possible, choose carbohydrates that are less likely to cause rapid spikes in blood glucose.”
Such carbohydrates include kidney beans, soy beans, pinto beans and lentils; milk; and fruits such as apples, oranges, grapefruit and pears.