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High-Carb Diets May Negatively Affect Heart Health

High-Carb Diets May Negatively Affect Heart Health

high carb diets

High-carbohydrate diets (aka carb-loading) may seem like an effective way for athletes to maximize the amount of fuel stored in muscle and to perform strongly at competitions, however research shows that they actually do the opposite.


Vanderbilt and the University of Alabama at Birmingham researched the impact of carb-loading in the form of a 264-calorie shake containing the hormone arterial natriuretic peptide (ANP). ANP works in the body to eliminate excess salt and improve blood pressure.

The 33 participants of the study followed a standard diet for a few days to prevent extraneous variables from impacting the results. Their blood levels of ANP were then monitored for 24 hours after consuming the 264-calorie shake.

Breakdown: a 264-calorie shake equals 66 grams of carbohydrates. This is more than a 20-ounce bottle of Coca Cola which contains 65 grams of carbohydrates.

Researchers found the carb-loading to weaken levels of ANP in circulating blood. They also found a 27 percent reduction in ANP over the course of several hours after consuming the 264-calorie shake.

When you digest a high-carbohydrate shake, your blood glucose levels escalate. Insulin is released from the pancreas to move this extra glucose into fat cells for storage, which returns blood glucose levels to normal.

Researchers asserted that the increase in glucose is tied to the decrease in ANP levels. This is because of the decreased production of miR-425 molecules which appear to inhibit the production of ANP.

Because this study only analyzed 33 participants, more research is needed to confirm the carbohydrate impact on ANP levels. In example, we arent sure if athletes have the same ANP response when they are carb-loading.

Use this knowledge to take action: high-sugar foods and nutrient-deficient meals should not be a daily part of a heart healthy diet.

For guidance on steps you can take to stay heart healthy and active, contact Advanced Cardio Services at

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