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 By Denise Mann

MONDAY, April 12, 2010 (Health.com) — Women who eat more white bread, white rice, pizza, and other carbohydrate-rich foods that cause blood sugar to spike are more than twice as likely to develop heart disease than women who eat less of those foods, a new study suggests.

Men who eat lots of those carbohydrates—which have what's known as a high glycemic index (GI)—do not have the same increased risk, however, perhaps because their bodies process the carbs differently, the researchers found.

Only carbohydrates with a high glycemic index appear to hurt the heart. Carbs with a low glycemic index—such as fruit and pasta—were not associated with an increased risk of heart disease, which suggests that the increased risk is caused "not by a diet high in carbohydrates, but by a diet rich in rapidly absorbed carbohydrates," says the lead author of the study, Sabina Sieri, PhD, of the Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, a national institute for cancer research in Milan, Italy.

 

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