How the quality of carbohydrates influences your health and the development of hypertension

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Both observational and randomized clinical trials have provided progressive evidence of the effects of different types of diets and specific macro / micronutrients, including carbohydrates, on the development of hypertension.

Lifestyle changes, as well as dietary recommendations focused on the amount and type of nutrients, can help reduce blood pressure and prevent the development of cardiovascular disease. However, you can often be bombarded with confusing and contradictory dietary recommendations.

These controversies are due, in part, to the fact that dietary recommendations have often focused on macronutrients in isolation, without taking into account the impact of other competing micro / macronutrients.

Moreover, in various studies, the associations between macronutrients and the results of their impact on health have also been addressed linearly across the range of consumption, with less focus on either the complexity of food composition or the level of intake of other foods. macronutrients, as well as on total energy consumption.

Even so, recent evidence suggests that many associations between macronutrient intake and mortality from all causes or cardiovascular disease are nonlinear, and the quantity and quality of macronutrients, as well as their interaction, may explain the impact on the health of the general population. Specifically, the association between cardiometabolic diseases, including hypertension, and diets with high carbohydrate levels, ie those containing carbohydrates with a particularly refined or high glycemic index, has been documented.

Instead, there is controversy about the role of low-carb diets. In this regard, both low and high cardiovascular risks have been reported in people on a low-carbohydrate diet, especially on long-term follow-up, although there has been a minimal risk of reduced consumption of approximately 50%. .

Carbohydrate quality is more important than quantity

Observational studies suggest that the type (more precisely, quality) of carbohydrates may have a greater effect than the total amount on the risk of chronic, cardiovascular or metabolic diseases, although specific groups may respond differently to the quality and quantity of carbohydrates.

The study, published in the July issue of the journal Hypertension , investigated the relationship between the amount and type of carbohydrates and new-onset hypertension in adult Chinese individuals. The results showed a U-shaped association between the percentage of carbohydrate intake in the diet and hypertension with new onset in adults.

These data support the notion that both high and low percentages of carbohydrate diets are associated with an increased risk of hypertension. A minimal risk was found in a carbohydrate intake of about 50 to 55%. Interestingly, in this study, the increased risks were found mainly in those with a lower intake of high-quality carbohydrates or with a high intake of low-quality carbohydrates. Moreover, an inverse association was shown between low-carbohydrate scores for low-quality carbohydrates and hypertension with new onset.

Undoubtedly, these data contribute to highlighting the role of the quality of carbohydrate intake on the development of hypertension and cardiovascular risk, although no direct evidence of the mechanisms has been provided.

Randomized clinical trials have shown that higher intakes of dietary fiber (fruits, vegetables, some starchy foods, and whole grains and cereals) can reduce body weight, blood cholesterol, and systolic blood pressure. However, in vivo preclinical and mechanical studies on the effect of carbohydrate quality and quantity on cardiovascular function are limited.

Carbohydrates with beneficial actions in the cardiovascular system

Carbohydrate-containing foods can influence cardiometabolic risk and the development of chronic diseases in different ways, depending on the type of carbohydrate, and various hypotheses of mechanisms have been issued.

Viscous fibers (starch-free polysaccharide carbohydrates, derived from plants) and insoluble fibers (from wheat bran) showed limited metabolic actions, by reducing postprandial blood glucose (the value of blood sugar after food consumption) and cholesterol absorption. Furthermore, foods that contain high-quality carbohydrates (eg, non-hierarchical vegetables, whole fruits, legumes, and whole grains) are effective in preventing the development of chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, because they also contain other micronutrients, such as antioxidants and molecules. anti-inflammatory drugs that may play a protective role in the cardiovascular system.

Indeed, whole plant foods contain many compounds, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals, which exert beneficial actions on the cardiovascular system, possibly by modulating neurohormonal systems and vascular remodeling. In particular, the high content of potassium, antioxidants and fiber in some fruits, vegetables and cereals can help reduce blood pressure and prevent or improve damage to organs related to hypertension (for example: coronary heart disease, ischemic stroke).

Therefore, the quality of carbohydrates seems to have a greater impact on your health compared to the amount of carbohydrates, although long-term clinical studies and prospective observational research are needed. These studies could help to expand knowledge and clarify the influence of dietary carbohydrates on the risk of hypertension and the circadian pattern of blood pressure, as well as to elucidate the basic mechanisms, including the potential interaction with the intestinal microbiome.

Always be aware of the influence of carbohydrates on your health and find out the optimal amounts and types recommended using the Dahna application. Download it now for free from Google Play or the AppStore!

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