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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Brown: Dietary Carbohydrates Intake Related to Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factor

Diets characterized by low glycemic load, low sugar, and higher fiber content may be associated with higher serum sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels in postmenopausal women, according to a new study led by Drs. Menga Huang and Simin Liu, faculty in the Department of Epidemiology.

[Photo: Dr. Simin Liu]

Low circulating levels of SHBG have been shown to be a direct and strong risk factor for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and hormone-dependent cancers, although the relation between various aspects of dietary carbohydrates and SHBG levels remain unexplored in population studies.

The researchers conducted a comprehensive assessment of total dietary carbohydrates, glycemic load, glycemic index, fiber, sugar, and various carbohydrate-abundant foods in 11,159 postmenopausal women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative. Higher dietary glycemic load and glycemic index based on total and available carbohydrates, and higher intake of sugar and sugar sweetened beverages were associated with lower concentrations of circulating SHBG. In contrast, women with greater intake of dietary fiber tended to have elevated SHBG levels.

The results of this study, published in Journal of Diabetes, suggest that low glycemic load/index diets with low sugar and high fiber content are associated with higher circulating levels of SHBG in this population, which may reduce the risk of a variety of adverse health outcomes.