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Researchers have found that it is the type of carbohydrate rather than the amount of carbohydrates that can lead to obesity. In a study including 572 healthy people followed for one year, investigators measured height and weight and asked participants what kinds of carbohydrates they consumed. It was determined that those people with a higher body mass index consumed carbohydrates with a higher glycemic index? the amount of carbs made little difference. According to Dr. Yunsheng Ma of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, the obesity rate has increased in the last 20 years even though people are eating less fat. According to the study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the refined carbohydrates found in foods containing a lot of sugar have a high glycemic index that causes a spike in blood sugar. The increased blood sugar is stored in the muscles, and, if it is not used, it becomes fat. Dr. Ma notes that including a food's glycemic index on the labeling could be helpful for dieters and people with diabetes.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.