Good Carbs Reduce Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration: From "Sham vs. Wham: The Health Insider"

Discussion in 'Optometry Archives' started by D., Jul 12, 2007.

  1. D.

    D. Guest

    Today's post from "Sham vs. Wham: The Health Insider" may be of
    interest here. Google the site for original text and links on the


    New research supports the belief that people consuming diets with a
    higher glycemic index than average are at greater risk of developing
    advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This new study from
    Tufts University suggests that 20 percent of cases of advanced AMD
    might have been prevented if individuals had consumed a diet with a
    glycemic index below average.

    In the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dr.
    Allen Taylor and colleagues of the Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision
    Research at Tufts University confirmed earlier findings linking
    dietary glycemic index with the risk of developing AMD. Here's how
    Taylor describes this work, and the lessons learned from his research:

    "Men and women who consumed diets with a higher glycemic index
    than average for their gender and age-group were at greater risk of
    developing advanced AMD," corresponding author Taylor says. "The
    severity of AMD increased with increasing dietary glycemic index."

    Glycemic index is a scale applied to foods based on how quickly
    the carbohydrates in foods are converted to blood sugar, or glucose.
    Foods like white rice, pasta and bread are examples of foods with a
    high-glycemic-index, meaning that these foods are associated with a
    faster rise and subsequent drop in blood sugar. Whole wheat versions
    of rice, pasta and bread are examples of foods that have a low-
    glycemic-index. These foods are often considered higher quality
    carbohydrates because they are associated with a slower and less
    dramatic rise and fall of blood sugar.

    In this study, Taylor and colleagues analyzed data from 4,099 men
    and women participating in the nationwide Age-Related Eye Disease
    Study (AREDS). Detailed dietary histories were obtained at the start
    of the study when participants were 55 to 80 years of age and had
    varying degrees of AMD.

    "Although carbohydrate quality was not the main focus in the
    AREDS, we were fortunate that the investigators had collected the
    dietary carbohydrate information we needed to do our analyses," says
    Taylor. "Our findings suggest that 20 percent of the cases of advanced
    AMD might have been prevented if those individuals had consumed a diet
    with a glycemic index below the average for their age and gender,"
    notes Taylor.

    AMD typically occurs after middle age, although the events which
    cause it may begin earlier. A leading cause of irreversible blindness,
    AMD results from the gradual breakdown of light-sensitive cells in the
    central region of the eye's retina, called the macula. Although there
    is no effective therapy for AMD, dietary intervention may delay its
    progress. Identifying modifiable risk factors for AMD is becoming
    increasingly important as the population ages. As Taylor and
    colleagues point out, the number of people in the US with visually
    impairing AMD is expected to double and reach three million by 2020.

    Taylor speculates that carbohydrates that comprise a high-
    index diet may provide eye tissue with too much glucose too quickly,
    and overwhelm the ability of the eye cells to use the carbohydrate
    properly. "It is possible that the type of damage produced by poor
    quality carbohydrates on eye tissue is similar in both diabetic eye
    disease and AMD."

    The risk for AMD may be diminished by improving dietary carbohydrate
    quality, as defined by dietary glycemic index. This may be achieved by
    relatively simple dietary alterations, such as replacing white bread
    with whole grain bread.

    D., Jul 12, 2007
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  2. D.

    Neil Brooks Guest


    It surely does seem that eating the way our ancestors /originally/ did
    IS what our bodies were best adapted to.
    Neil Brooks, Jul 12, 2007
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  3. D.

    Jane Guest

    When I was in grad school, we learned that correlation does not mean
    causality. The above conclusions seems to be based on correlational
    evidence. This is the same kind of evidence that led doctors to
    believe that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was like a fountain of
    youth, and had them writing scripts for thousands of women. I think
    I'll withhold judgment about the relationship between carbs and AMD
    for the time being.
    Jane, Jul 12, 2007
  4. I agree, correlation does not equate to causation.

    However, correlation does within reason lead to suspect causality.

    This is common sense. AAMOF, this is the very foundation of CSI.
    (Crime Scene Investigation)!
    Kisame Hoshigaki, Jul 13, 2007
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