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Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Oct;86(4):1210-8.

Dietary carbohydrate and the progression of age-related macular degeneration: a prospective study from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study.

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Jean Mayer US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA.



Cross-sectional studies indicate that diets that provide a higher dietary glycemic index (dGI) are associated with a greater risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). No prospective studies have addressed this issue.


The objective was to prospectively evaluate the effect of baseline dGI on the progression of AMD.


dGI was calculated as the weighted average of GIs from foods and was evaluated as being above or below the sex median (women: 77.9; men: 79.3) for 3977 participants aged 55-80 y (58% women) in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study. The 7232 eligible eyes without advanced AMD were classified into 1 of 3 AMD categories: group 1 (nonextensive small drusen), group 2 (intermediate drusen, extensive small drusen, or pigmentary abnormalities), or group 3 (large drusen or extensive intermediate drusen). With the use of multifailure Cox proportional-hazards regression, we modeled the time to the maximal progression to evaluate the relation between dGI and the risk of AMD.


Overall, the multivariate-adjusted risk of progression over 8 y of follow-up (x: 5.4 y) was significantly higher (risk ratio: 1.10; 95% CI: 1.00, 1.20; P = 0.047) in the high-dGI group than in the low-dGI group. The risk of progression for groups 1, 2, and 3 eyes was 5%, 8%, and 17% greater, respectively (P for trend < 0.001). The latter gives an estimate that 7.8% of new advanced AMD cases would be prevented in 5 y if people consumed the low-dGI diet.


Persons at risk of AMD progression, especially those at high risk of advanced AMD, may benefit from consuming a smaller amount of refined carbohydrates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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