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Eyesight: Refined carbohydrates increase risk of age-related macular degeneration

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Age spares no mercy on the eyes but getting older just isn’t the one reason for vision loss. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a “leading” reason for vision for older adults, explains the National Eye Institute (NEI). Research suggests people liable to AMD ought to be ware of the refined carb intake.

Refined carbohydrates, also often known as “easy” carbs, check with sugars (e.g. glucose, fructose, sucrose) or anything created from grains which have had the fibrous wheat germ and bran removed.

The study, published within the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, involved 3,977 participants aged 55 to 80 from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study – a serious research program to enhance our understanding of the predisposing aspects, clinical course, and prognostic aspects of AMD and cataract.

Overall, the study found those consuming the best amount of refined carbs were at the next risk of developing AMD than those that consumed the smallest amount.

“Individuals liable to AMD progression, especially those at high risk of advanced AMD, may profit from consuming a smaller amount of refined carbohydrates,” the study researchers concluded.

READ MORE: Eyesight warning: Three foods loved by Britons found to ‘decelerate blood flow to the eyes’

Refined carbs, reminiscent of white bread, have the next GI rating and are due to this fact broken faster, which subsequently causes blood sugar levels to rise more quickly.

Carbs with a low glycaemic load, reminiscent of whole-grain bread, take longer to digest, which has a more moderate impact on blood sugar levels.

A team led by Doctor Allen Taylor and Doctor Sheldon Rowan of Tufts University explored the impact of dietary carbohydrates on retinal damage, an indication of AMD.

The team hypothesised that switching middle-aged mice from a high glycemic weight loss plan to a low glycemic weight loss plan would delay or stop retinal damage.

READ MORE: Eyesight warning: Popular drink loved by Britons found to cause ‘devastating’ vision loss

Throughout the study, published within the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team fed groups of mice the identical variety of calories but varied the variety of carbohydrate.

They fed 19 mice a low glycaemic weight loss plan and 40 mice a high glycaemic weight loss plan. Six months later, 17 mice were switched from the high to the low glycemic weight loss plan.

Six months after that, the researchers analysed differences within the three groups of mice, which by then had reached old age.

Mice fed a high glycaemic weight loss plan developed signs of retinal damage. Although the retina of a mouse lacks a macula, these signs were just like those in individuals with dry AMD. Certain metabolic changes, reminiscent of high levels of cholesterol and insulin, were linked to retinal damage.

The mice also had different bacteria of their gut microbiomes. Confirming previous mouse studies, the team didn’t observe significant retinal changes in mice fed the low glycemic weight loss plan.

When the mice were switched from a high to low glycaemic weight loss plan, the build-up of certain harmful metabolic aspects in eye tissue were delayed, stopped, and even reversed.

The weight loss plan switch also stopped or reversed signs of AMD. Gut microbiomes within the mice were restored to that of mice fed a low glycaemic weight loss plan.

“Our findings show an interaction between dietary carbohydrates, the gut microbiome, specific biochemical molecules, and AMD features. This work should result in recent approaches to know, diagnose, and treat early AMD—perhaps before it affects vision,” Taylor explained on the time of publication.

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