The mantra "no white foods"—white rice, bread made with white flour, and ice cream—has been a guideline of weight-loss advocates for years. They usually pair that with the advice to "eat 100 percent whole grains."
Now, a study by Italian scientists published in the Archives of Internal Medicine says skipping white foods has another crucial health benefit for women—reducing risk of heart disease.
Foods made with highly processed white flour have been stripped of fiber and other nutrients, while the less-processed whole grain foods retain those fiber and nutrients. White foods and 100 percent whole grains both contain carbohydrates, but the white foods have high-glycemic index carbohydrates. That spongy loaf of white bread is not all that different, nutritionally, from a candy bar.
The study found that just eating more carbs doesn't increase heart health risks. Instead, it is the type of carbohydrates eaten—whether high or low on the glycemic index—that is strongly linked to risk of heart disease in women.