Lead author Marian Neuhouser, a member of the Cancer Prevention Program in the Public Health Sciences Division at the Hutchinson Center in Seattle, said such a "low-glycemic-load" diet, which does not cause blood-glucose levels to spike, increases a hormone that helps regulate the metabolism of fat and sugar.
The controlled, randomized feeding study, which involved 80 healthy Seattle-area men and women -- half of normal weight and half overweight or obese -- found that among overweight and obese study participants, a low-glycemic-load diet reduced a biomarker of inflammation called C-reactive protein by about 22 percent, Neuhouser said.
"This finding is important and clinically useful since C-reactive protein is associated with an increased risk for many cancers as well as cardiovascular disease," Neuhouser said in a statement. "Lowering inflammatory factors is important for reducing a broad range of health risks. Showing that a low-glycemic-load diet can improve health is important for the millions of Americans who are overweight or obese."
The findings were published online ahead of the February issue of The Journal of Nutrition.
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