Different kinds of carbohydrates can do different things
Scientists at Tufts University conducted a follow-up study to examine how food patterns affected changes in waist size and body mass index (BMI). In recent media reports of the first study, much was made of how consuming white bread could increase waist size. The data, however, revealed that among the individuals with the smallest increase in waist circumference, a greater percentage of their total dietary intake came from carbohydrates. The second study, published in August 2004, confirmed the findings.
“It’s not the carbohydrates, it’s the kind of carbohydrates,” said the study’s lead author, R K. Newby, D.Sc., of the Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.
“Those individuals with the smallest increase in waist circumference were eating carbohydrates rich in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Those eating a lot of refined grains and processed foods had a much larger increase in waist circumference.”
The ratio of waist-to-hip size, and waist size alone, can be indicators of abdominal fat, which has been associated with cardiovascular disease, premature death, stroke, type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes, some cancers, and hypertension. Because foods are not consumed in isolation, research on food patterns may be useful in helping people who are trying to control their weight.
The study compared adherence to certain food patterns with changes in waist circumference among 459 healthy adult men and women for an average of two years. The participants in the study kept seven-day food records that were used to determine food patterns. Their body measurements were taken several times throughout the study.
The results showed that a fiber-rich food pattern, high in reduced-fat dairy, cereal, fruit, fruit juice, non-white bread, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and beans and legumes, was associated with the smallest increase in waist circumference.
“A healthy food pattern–rich in fiber–may lead to smaller gains in BMI in women and smaller gains in waist circumference in both women and men,” said Newby.
(Sources: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2003;77(6): 1417-1425; and 2004;80:504-513.)
COPYRIGHT 2004 Vegetus Publications
COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group