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Background: Carbohydrate quality and quantity may affect the risk for cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and type-2 diabetes mellitus. Glycemic load (GL) is a mathematical concept based on carbohydrate quality and quantity. GL is a product of glycemic index (GI) and the carbohydrate content of a food item divided by 100.

Objective: In this study, the association between GL and components and prevalence of metabolic syndrome was investigated in a representative sample survey of US residents utilizing the data reported in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (n = 5011).

Methods: Metabolic syndrome was defined according to the criteria established by the Adult Treatment Panel III. Multivariate-adjusted means for waist circumference, triacylglycerol, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, blood glucose, and HDL cholesterol were determined according to the energy-adjusted GL intake quartiles using regression models.

Results: In all subjects and in men, high GL was associated with low HDL-cholesterol concentrations in multivariate-adjusted analysis (P for trend < 0.01). However, no association was observed between GL and any of the individual components of metabolic syndrome in women. Also, no association was observed between energy-adjusted GL and prevalence of metabolic syndrome in both men (P for trend < 0.21) and women (P for trend < 0.09) in the multivariate-adjusted logistic regression analysis.

Conclusion: It is likely that the diets low in GL may mitigate the risk for CVD through HDL cholesterol.


Originally published in International Archives of Medicine.

© 2009 Culberson et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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