Scientists from Republican Specialized Scientific Practical Medical Center of Therapy and Medical Rehabilitation found that eating low glycemic index foods promotes a healthier body shape in patients with heart disease.
The research was presented at ACNAP-EuroHeartCare Congress 2022 and was conducted by Dr. Jamol Uzokov et al.
The glycemic index (GI) ranks carbohydrate-containing foods according to how quickly they affect blood sugar levels.
High GI foods cause a rapid increase 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 include some fruits and vegetables such as apples, oranges, broccoli and leafy greens, pulses such as chickpeas, lentils, and kidney beans, and whole grains such as brown rice and oats.
Meat, poultry and fish do not have a GI rating because they do not contain carbohydrates.
In the study, the team assigned 160 heart patients aged 38 to 76 years old to three months of either a low GI diet or routine diet. Both groups continued to receive standard therapies for coronary artery disease.
They found the low GI diet led to big reductions in BMI and waist circumference. BMI declined by 4.2 kg/m2 in the low GI group compared to 1.4 kg/m2 in the routine diet group.
Waist circumference decreased by 9 cm in the low GI group compared with 3.3 cm in the routine diet group. There was no big difference between groups for hip circumference and waist-to-hip ratio.
The researchers also tested 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 compared with women.
The beneficial effect of a low GI diet on BMI was the same for men and women.
The team says that emphasizing low GI foods as part of a balanced diet could help patients with heart disease control their body weight and their waistline.
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