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Slowly digested, high-fiber carbohydrate foods such as whole grains, lentils, pinto beans, and kidney beans, can help reduce levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker for the inflammation associated with heart disease and other chronic illnesses, by about 22 percent in overweight or obese adults. This finding comes from a study at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
Investigators put 80 participants on back-to-back 28-day diets, the first featuring high glycemic load carbs that are low in fiber and highly processed (they contain white sugar and white flour such as sugar-sweetened beverages and many breakfast cereals). These foods cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly. The other diet featured low glycemic load carbs that don’t cause blood sugar to spike. The diets were otherwise identical in calorie, carbohydrate, protein and fat content.
In addition to the effect on CRP, the researchers reported that the low glycemic load diet led to a five percent increase in a protein called adiponectin, which plays a key role in protecting against several types of cancer as well as type-2 diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and hardening of the arteries.