Consuming Low-Glycemic Index Foods Helps Build Healthier Body Shape in Heart Patients: Study

The glycemic index (GI) ranks foods containing carbohydrates by how quickly they affect blood sugar. Low GI foods are digested more slowly and gradually raise blood sugar unlike high GI foods.

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According to a study presented at the recent Scientific Congress of the European Society of Cardiology, the consumption of foods with a low glycemic index promotes a healthier figure in people with coronary heart disease.

The glycemic index (GI) ranks foods containing carbohydrates by how quickly they affect blood sugar. High GI foods cause a rapid rise in blood sugar and include white bread, white rice, potatoes, and sweets. Low GI foods are digested more slowly and gradually raise blood sugar; they understand some fruits and vegetables like apples, oranges, broccoli, and leafy greens, legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and kidney beans, and whole grains like brown rice and oats.

Meat, poultry and fish do not have a GI index because they do not contain carbohydrates. Observational studies have previously indicated that high GI diets are associated with increased risks of cardiovascular and type 2 disease Diabetes. This randomized controlled study evaluated the potential benefit of a low GI diet on body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, hip circumference and waist-to-hip ratio in patients with coronary heart disease.

Between 2016 and 2019, the study randomly assigned 160 patients between the ages of 38 and 76 to three months of a low-GI diet or a routine diet. Both groups continued to receive standard therapies for coronary heart disease. Patients in the low GI group were advised to consume low GI foods and exclude high GI foods while continuing their usual protein and fat intake.

The routine diet group was advised to consume the recommended diet for coronary heart disease, which limits fats and certain proteins such as whole milk, cheese, meat, egg yolks and fried foods. Food compliance was assessed using a food frequency questionnaire. Anthropometric indices were measured at baseline and at three months.

The average age of the participants was 58 years old and 52% were women. Anthropometric indices were similar between groups at baseline. At three months, all body measurements had decreased in both groups from baseline, but the changes were only significant in the low GI group.

When the researchers compared changes from baseline to end of the study between the groups, the low-GI diet resulted in significant reductions in BMI and waist circumference. BMI decreased by 4.2 kg/m2 in the low GI group, compared to 1.4 kg/m2 in the usual diet group. Waist circumference decreased by 9 cm in the low GI group, compared to 3.3 cm in the routine diet group. There was no significant difference between the groups for hip circumference and waist-to-hip ratio.

The researchers also looked at whether the intervention affected women and men differently. They found that a low-GI diet was more likely to influence waist circumference, hip circumference and waist-to-hip ratio in men than in women. The beneficial effect of a low GI diet on BMI was the same for men and women.

Study author Dr Jamol Uzokov, of the Republican Specialized Scientific-Practical Therapy and Medical Rehabilitation Medical Center, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, said: “Although larger studies are needed to confirm these findings , our research indicates that an emphasis on low-GI foods as part of a balanced diet may help heart patients control their body weight and waist circumference.”

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