Background: Recent prospective data suggest that intake of rapidly digested and absorbed carbohydrates with a high dietary glycemic load is associated with an increased risk of ischemic heart disease.
Objective: We examined whether a high dietary glycemic load was associated with elevated hs-CRP concentrations and whether this association was modified by body mass index (BMI; in kg/m(2)).
Design: In 244 apparently healthy women, we measured plasma hs-CRP concentrations and determined average dietary glycemic loads with a validated semiquantitative food-frequency questionnaire. Using multiple regression models, we evaluated the association between dietary glycemic load and plasma hs-CRP after adjusting for age; treatment status; smoking status; BMI; physical activity level; parental history of myocardial infarction; history of hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol; postmenopausal hormone use; alcohol intake; and other dietary variables.
Results: We found a strong and statistically significant positive association between dietary glycemic load and plasma hs-CRP. The median hs-CRP concentration for the lowest quintile of dietary glycemic load was 1.9 mg/L and for the highest quintile was 3.7 mg/L; corresponding multivariate-adjusted geometric means were 1.4 and 3.8 mg/L, respectively (P for trend < 0.01). This association was significantly modified by BMI. Among women with a BMI greater-than-or-equal 25, the multivariate-adjusted geometric mean hs-CRP concentration in the lowest quintile was 1.6 mg/L and in the highest quintile was 5.0 mg/L; however, among women with a BMI < 25, the corresponding means were 1.1 and 3.1 mg/L, respectively (P = 0.01 for interaction).
Conclusions: Dietary glycemic load is significantly and positively associated with plasma hs-CRP in healthy middle-aged women, independent of conventional risk factors for ischemic heart disease. Exacerbation of the proinflammatory process may be a mechanism whereby a high intake of rapidly digested and absorbed carbohydrates increases the risk of ischemic heart disease, especially in overweight women prone to insulin resistance.