Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Black women who tend to eat foods more likely to lead to higher blood sugar may have slightly greater risk for uterine fibroids
Uterine fibroids - noncancerous growths that often cause heavy menstrual bleeding and cramping during childbearing years - are 2 to 3 times more likely in black women than in other American women. A team of researchers studied nearly 21,900 pre-menopausal black women. Subjects filled out food questionnaires in 1995 and 2001, and the investigators calculated the women's glycemic index and glycemic load, two indicators of how the food they ate was likely to affect their blood sugar levels. Low glycemic index and load foods - apples or whole beans for example - gradually release sugars into the blood. By contrast, those with high glycemic index and load, such as sugary drinks and pastries, white bread, and white rice, release sugars rapidly and cause the body to release hormones to compensate for blood sugar spikes. Between 1997 through 2007, the team found 5800 women with uterine fibroids diagnosed during ultrasound or hysterectomy. Those with higher versus lower glycemic index levels generally had greater fibroid risk after allowing for multiple other factors potentially associated with the development of fibroids. Scientists are not sure why diet might affect the growth of fibroids. One possibility, however, is the effect of foods on blood sugar. Higher-carbohydrate diets can lead to higher insulin levels, which are in turn linked to levels of other hormones thought to encourage fibroid growth.