Macular Degeneration and Carbohydrates

Recent studies have concluded that other factors never before associated with the condition may also be contributing causes to the disease. Certain types of carbohydrates have conclusively been associated with the condition. Specifically, foods rich in carbohydrates that have a high glycemic index have been linked to Macular Degeneration. This factor raises the blood glucose level and is a measure of how fast the carbohydrates are metabolized. The faster the food is broken down the higher the glycemic index.

Foods made from simple carbohydrates like cake and white bread or ones that are sweetened with sugar or corn syrup metabolize very quickly pouring glucose into the system. Complex carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables break down more slowly and result in a steadier release of glucose into the system. Complex carbs are much better for timed release of energy for active people since it keeps fueling the system. It also uses the glucose as it is released thus decreasing the likelihood of having to store it in cells. This of course results in an increase in fatty tissue.

Intake of foods with a high glycemic index causes conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, vascular disease and certain types of cancers. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has published studies correlating these foods and conditions. One such study stated that individuals that ate a lot of high glycemic index carbohydrates had as much as a 40 times greater chance of developing macular degeneration and that the severity of the condition would be worse then those that did not eat that class of food.

The theory behind the correlation between the high glycemic index carbohydrates and macular degeneration stems from it’s impact on the smaller blood vessels. High blood glucose like in diabetes weakens the cellular bonds in the blood vessel walls. This in turn weakens the vessel’s ability to maintain good blood flow thought the vessels. As a result the blood leaks out of the blood vessels resulting in damage to the surrounding tissue. In addition, the end organs are not going to get the full supply of blood. It can be compared to a garden hose that leaks water all along the hose. As a result the sprinkler will not get enough water and the grass at the end will turn brown. Also, the areas along the hose will flood damaging those parts as well.