Men and Women Are Different – When It Comes to Carbs

Finally, a study that proves women and men are different!

I can hear the guys saying, “See I told you so. I can eat more carbs than you and get away with it, so quit bugging me woman.”

Just joshing you a bit there, but apparently there’s some truth to that statement.

According to a study reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2010 (170:640-647) women turn carbs, especially bread, into fats faster than men. That in turn elevates their serum blood fat (triglyceride levels) and decreases their high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol levels. HDL cholesterol tends to be the good guy in the cholesterol story. Basically you want your highs high and your lows low.

But women have some redeeming metabolic qualities too since their low-density (LDL) cholesterol tends to increase at a lesser level than men’s.

Never the less the final outcome of eating a high carb diet for women is not good.

The researchers recruited 13,637 men and 30,495 women from northern Italy for this study. Anyone who already had heart or blood vessel disease was eliminated from the study.

Periodically the participants filled out a food frequency questionnaire. Using the results of these questionnaires, the researchers calculated the glycemic index of each person’s diet.

Don’t have a clue about what the glycemic index is? Here’s a good definition from

“The body breaks down most carbohydrates from the foods we eat and converts them to a type of sugar called glucose. Glucose is the main source of fuel for our cells. After eating, the time it takes for the body to convert carbohydrates and release glucose into the bloodstream varies, depending on the type of carbohydrate and the food that contains it. Some carbohydrate-containing foods cause the blood glucose level to rise rapidly; others have a more gradual effect.

The glycemic index measures how fast and how much a food raises blood glucose levels. Foods with higher index values raise blood sugar more rapidly than foods with lower glycemic index values do.”

In this study the researchers noted that bread was the main carb that cause a rapid rise in the blood glucose level.

At the beginning of the study the average age of the participants was 50 years olds. The researchers followed them for an average of 7.9 years. During that time 463 participants developed coronary heart disease (CHD), meaning the coronary arteries supplying blood to the heart became diseased.

Women who ate the most carbs had a higher risk for developing CHD than women who ate the least carbs. But not so in men. The amount of carbs men ate did not affect their risk for developing CHD.

When I read a study like that I start asking a lot of questions.

Did they eat refined carbohydrates (sugar and white flour products) or did they eat complex carbohydrates (whole grains, fruit, and vegetables)?

Did all of their bodies have the same metabolic type? Maybe they did in northern Italy. But most of us have our own unique metabolic requirements. Some types can eat more carbs, some more protein, and some more fat.

So we each need to individualize our proportions of carbohydrate, protein and fat in our diets. Following the Get Healthy Eating Plan in Dr. Jo’s Natural Healing Cookbook can help you determine the proportions of carbohydrate, protein and fat in your meals that work well for your uniquely-you body.

Bottom line, what did I get out of this study?

Women, be careful of your carbohydrate intake.

Men, don’t use this study as an excuse to pig out on refined carbohydrates – all those death dealing sugary foods made with white flour. Just because this study indicated that a diet high in carbs is not associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease in men, doesn’t mean it’s safe. You can certainly have other consequences.

Eat healthy complex carbohydrates, whole grains, vegetables and whole fruit (not juice) and you can most likely get away with eating more carbs than your lady friends.

Men and women:

Choose healthy food in the rate ration of carbohydrate, protein and fat for your uniquely-you body.


Dr. Jo




About Dr. Jo

Dr. JoDr. Jo delights in sharing the message of health. She believes disease is optional if you know how to take care of yourself. And she’s a great coach to help you reverse or prevent disease.

So she writes this blog to keep you up to date with information that may undermine your health if you are not aware of it. She also provides tips on healthy living, how to reverse degenerative diseases, delicious recipes, and ways to enjoyably change your habits to healthy ones.

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