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Refined Carbs May Up Insomnia Risk in Postmenopausal Women

Highly processed foods containing large amounts of refined sugars may be a dietary culprit for insomnia

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Diets with a higher glycemic index (GI) may be a risk factor for insomnia in postmenopausal women, according to a study published online Dec. 11 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

James E. Gangwisch, Ph.D., from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues investigated the odds of insomnia among 77,860 postmenopausal women participating in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study at baseline (1994 to 1998), and in 53,069 participants after three years of follow-up (1997 to 2001), based upon associations with GI, glycemic load, other carbohydrate measures (added sugars, starch, total carbohydrate), dietary fiber, and specific carbohydrate-containing foods.

The researchers found that in fully adjusted models, higher dietary GI was associated with increasing odds of prevalent (fifth compared with first quintile odds ratio [OR], 1.11) and incident (fifth compared with first quintile OR, 1.16) insomnia. Incident insomnia was associated with higher intakes of dietary added sugars, starch, and nonwhole/refined grains. Higher nonjuice fruit and vegetable intakes were significantly associated with lower odds of incident insomnia, while higher intakes of dietary fiber, whole grains, nonjuice fruit, and vegetables were significantly associated with lower odds of prevalent insomnia.

“By identifying other factors that lead to insomnia, we may find straightforward and low-cost interventions with fewer potential side effects,” Gangwisch said in a statement.

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