High Carbohydrate in Diet Linked to Cataract Formation

Allen Taylor, Ph.D., at Tufts University and colleagues reported that carbohydrate intake in older nondiabetic persons is related to the development of nuclear and cortical lens opacities.

The present study suggests a positive relation between the dietary glycemic index and nuclear opacities. It is possible, that foods with a higher glycemic index may increase the damage to the metabolically limited nuclear tissue of the lens by exposing the tissue to glucose for longer periods.

The glycemic index measures how fast a carbohydrate can raise blood glucose and may better describe the physiological effects of carbohydrates than the total quantity of carbohydrate intake, said .

These findings add to an evolving biochemical, animal-based hypothesis that dietary carbohydrates may be associated with cataractogenesis, Dr. Taylor said. Prior evidence of cataract-related damage to lens proteins includes glycation, oxidation, cross-linking, and formation of advanced glycoxidation end-products, for example.

Primary source: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Source reference:
Chung-Jung Chiu, et al, "Dietary carbohydrate intake and glycemic index in relation to cortical and nuclear lens opacities in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study," The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2006; 83: 1777-1784.

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