Low Glycemic Carbs

Low glycemic carbs are key to an anti-inflammatory diet and to a macular degeneration prevention plan.

Healthy Carbs

It is important to know what foods are considered healthy carbs and which foods are considered bad carbohydrates.

macular degeneration diet

Allen Taylor, PhD, director of the Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University, examined the eyes of more than 500 women between 53 and 73 years of age.

Taylor, who is also a nutrition, ophthalmology and biochemistry professor on the Tufts health sciences campus in Boston stated:

"The likelihood of having abnormalities characteristic of AMD on eye exam more than doubled for women who consumed diets with the highest glycemic index, regardless of other factors already known or suspected to increase the risk of AMD, such as age, high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, and obesity."

In other words the type of carbohydrate that we eat does matter in a macular degeneration diet. 

If glycemic index is a new word or concept for you I suggest that you read The New Sugar Busters! Cut Sugar to Trim Fat

In a nutshell, foods that cause our blood sugar to spike which then results in an increase secretion of insulin, are harmful to our health and to our vision.

Sugar and Macular Degeneration

Researchers from the Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research at Tufts University report:

"Scientists have suggested that the ‘sugar rush’ that comes from these glycemic peaks may cause retinal damage and be a factor in AMD. "

macular degeneration diet do's and don'ts

Senior scientist Dr. Allen Taylor, PhD, at the Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research at Tufts University studied the effect of sugar and carbohydrate intake on eye health.  "Mice fed the high-glycemic index diet developed signs of retinal disease, and when their diets were switched to low-glycemic index, signs of AMD were reversed."  You can read the full article here:

Sugar and Macular Degeneration

Low Glycemic Carbs List

There are good carbohydrates for you and there are bad carbs that lead to chronic inflammation. It is important to know which ones to include and which ones you need to start eliminating from your diet.

Low Glycemic Carbs Include:

√ Sweet Potato

√ Brown Rice or Wild Rice

macular degeneration diet

√ Oatmeal - regular, slow cooked

√ Vegetables - asparagus, red, green and orange peppers, squash, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts,

√ Beans - chick peas, black beans, kidney beans, lima beans, butter beans

√ Fruit - cherries, grapefruit, tomatoes, apricots

√ Raw nuts

Generally foods that are higher in fiber are the low glycemic carbs that are better for you.

"Despite its high-carb nature, winter squash has recently been shown to help steady the release of sugar inside of our digestive tract after being eaten, and to lessen our overall glycemic response to meals. These findings also match up with studies on the glycemic index (GI) of winter squash. On our website, we report a GI value for winter squash of 51. This value qualifies winter squash as a low-GI vegetable, since the cut-off for low-GI is usually set at 55. In short, despite its high-carb content, winter squash is a vegetable that provides us with health support, including support in the area of sugar metabolism following a meal."

What's New and Beneficial about Winter Squash

Carbs and Inflammation

Bad carbohydrates are foods that contribute to chronic inflammation which increases our risk for macular degeneration along with other diseases. These bad carbs are high in the glycemic index.

Foods to Avoid are:

√ Whole Wheat and White Flour - white bread, bagels, cookies, cakes, white rolls

√ White Potatoes

carbs and inflammation

√ White Rice

√ White Pasta

√ Instant Oatmeal and Processed Cold Cereals

√ Rice Cakes

√ Pretzels

√ French Fries

√ Pizza

Wheat Belly Book

"Aside from some extra fiber, eating two slices of whole wheat bread is really little different, and often worse, than drinking a can of sugar-sweetened soda or eating a sugary candy bar."

William Davis, MD and author of Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health explains in his book, it is the genetically modified wheat that has led to the problems with today's breads and wheat products. His book provides a very thorough explanation of words like amylopectin and AGE - advanced glycation end products. So even though you may have heard that complex carbs, like whole wheat breads and pasta are good for you, Dr. Davis would disagree.

"Because wheat carbohydrate, the uniquely digestible amylopectin A, causes a greater spike in blood sugar than virtually any other food - more than a candy bar, table sugar, or ice cream - it also triggers greater insulin release."

Did you know that the glycemic index of whole wheat bread is 72, while white bread is 69 and a Snicker's bar is 41? That's what Dr. Davis reports in his book along with other disturbing consequences of including wheat in our diet. AGEs are the by-products of high blood sugar.

"Anywhere glucose goes (which is virtually everywhere in the body), AGEs will follow." Dr. William Davis

This of course includes our eyes - the lens to the retina. "In fact, no structure in the eye escapes the damaging effects of AGEs, including the retina (macular degeneration), the vitreous (the gel-like liquid filling the eyeball), and the cornea."

Go Wheat Free?

Trying to imagine going wheat free? Without some guidance and some forethought it isn't easy.

Tips like substituting strips of zucchini for pasta and almond flour for regular flour meant it didn't take long and I wasn't missing wheat at all.

Wheat Belly 30-Minute Cookbook: 200 Quick and Simple Recipes to Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health

Grain Brain Cookbook

Another helpful book filled with healthy but delicious recipes in the Grain Brain Cookbook by neurologist, David Perlmutter.

All of the 150 recipes are gluten-free and are low carb. 

By eliminating grains that are high glycemic as well as foods with sugar you can start to reduce inflammation that leads to many degenerative conditions.

The Grain Brain Cookbook: More Than 150 Life-Changing Gluten-Free Recipes to Transform Your Health

Go from Low Glycemic Carbs to Macular Degeneration Diet

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