According to a study in the May issue of American Journal of Clinical of Nutrition, carbohydrate nutrition is associated with changes in the retinal vascular structure and branching pattern in children. The researchers assessed the associations between intakes of high-glycemic index and high–glycemic load diets, carbohydrate, and the main carbohydrate-containing food groups and retinal microvascular changes in preadolescents.
When the highest to lowest carbohydrate consumption were compared, girls had significantly narrower retinal arterioles. In girls only, a higher-GI diet was associated with narrower retinal arterioles. Carbohydrate intake and a high-GL diet were associated with greater retinal fractal dimension in girls. Greater consumption of carbohydrates and soft drinks was associated with retinal arteriolar narrowing and venular widening in girls and boys. Because these microvascular signs have been shown to be markers of future cardiovascular disease risk, the presence of this risk factor in children could support the need for healthy dietary patterns that include lower consumption of high-GI foods and soft drinks.