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High Carb Intake Tied to Low HDLs

Why do Chinese Canadians have higher levels of HDL (healthy cholesterol) than South Asian Canadians? Because they eat fewer carbohydrates.

Researchers led by Dr. Anwar Merchant conducted a study of 619 Canadians of various ethnic origins with no previously diagnosed medical conditions. The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in January 2007, found that the Chinese had the highest HDLs, followed by Native Americans, Europeans, and South Asians.

To explain these findings, the researchers first adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, physical activity, smoking, belly fat, obesity, alcohol, and intakes of total food, protein, and fiber. Having done so, they found that the higher a group’s carbohydrate intake, the lower that group’s levels of HDLs. Carbohydrate intake was significantly higher in the group with the lowest HDLs, and significantly lower in the group with highest HDLs. High carbohydrate intake was also associated with higher fasting triglycerides.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2007
Reuters Health, January 2007

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