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Am J Epidemiol. 2005 Jan 15;161(2):161-9.

Carbohydrate intake, glycemic index, glycemic load, and dietary fiber in relation to risk of stroke in women.

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  • 1Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The associations of dietary carbohydrate, glycemic index, and glycemic load with stroke risk were examined among 78,779 US women who were free of cardiovascular disease and diabetes in 1980 and completed a food frequency questionnaire. During an 18-year follow-up, 1,020 stroke cases were documented (including 515 ischemic and 279 hemorrhagic). In analyses adjusting for nondietary risk factors and cereal fiber, carbohydrate intake was associated with elevated risk of hemorrhagic stroke when the extreme quintiles were compared (relative risk = 2.05, 95% confidence interval: 1.10, 3.83; p(trend) = 0.02), but not with ischemic stroke. The positive association between carbohydrate intake and stroke risk was most evident among women with a body mass index of > or =25 kg/m(2). Likewise, dietary glycemic load was positively associated with total stroke among only those women whose body mass index was > or =25 kg/m(2). Cereal fiber intake was inversely associated with total and hemorrhagic stroke risk; for total stroke, relative risk = 0.66 (95% confidence interval: 0.52, 0.83; p(trend) = 0.001) and for hemorrhagic stroke, relative risk = 0.51 (95% confidence interval: 0.33, 0.78; p(trend) = 0.01). Findings suggest that high intake of refined carbohydrate is associated with hemorrhagic stroke risk, particularly among overweight or obese women. In addition, high consumption of cereal fiber was associated with lower risk of total and hemorrhagic stroke.

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