Objective: Associations between dietary glycemic load (GL) and cardiovascular disease risk factors, including plasma lipoprotein/lipid levels, blood pressure, and glucose metabolism factors, in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study were examined.
Methods: A random sample of 878 Observational Study participants (postmenopausal women 50-79 y of age) with baseline blood measurements (647 white, 104 black, 127 Hispanic) was included. Dietary GL was estimated from baseline food-frequency questionnaires, which assessed dietary intake over the previous 3 mo. At the baseline visit, participants completed demographic and health habit questionnaires, fasting blood samples were collected, anthropometric measurements were completed, and blood pressure was assessed.
Results: In all participants combined, GL was inversely associated with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (P for trend = 0.004) and positively associated with log(10)-transformed triacylglycerols (P = 0.008). Although there were no statistically significant interactions of race/ethnicity with associations between GL and cardiovascular disease risk factors, stratified results were suggestive, showing that GL was positively associated with total cholesterol (P = 0.018) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (P = 0.038) in Hispanics. In white subjects, there was a trend of reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol with higher GL (P = 0.003), whereas GL was positively associated with log(10)-transformed triacylglycerols (P = 0.015). Associations between GL and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and between GL and triacylglycerols also differed by body mass index, although the interactions were not statistically significant.
Conclusion: Among these generally healthy postmenopausal women, GL was associated with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triacylglycerols. Suggestive effects of race/ethnicity and body mass index on these associations need to be confirmed in larger studies.
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