Eating a hefty amount of high-glycemic carbs, such as cornflakes and foods based on white flour, raises blood sugar levels, which in turn might elevate your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, say researchers from Israel’s Chaim Sheba Medical Center.

During the study, 56 overweight and obese adults, ages 35 to 60, were fed glucose, cornflakes, high-fiber cereal or water on four separate mornings after an overnight fast.  Before and after meals, researchers measured participants’ blood sugar levels. Findings showed that blood sugar levels were similar before and two hours after meals, but they spiked 30 to 90 minutes following high-glycemic meals.

“Based on our study, we do urge consumers to have low-glycemic index carbohydrates instead of high-glycemic carbohydrates for better health and less potential hazards for the vascular endothelial function,” said researcher Michael Shechter, MD. Endothelial function—which refers to cells that line the inside of blood vessels—is related to cardiovascular health. Low-glycemic index foods include oatmeal and most fruits, veggies, legumes and nuts.

In a second carbohydrate study, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that reducing dietary carbs stabilized blood sugar, decreased blood insulin levels and boosted participants’ sense of fullness after a meal.

“Over the long run, a sustained modest reduction in carbohydrate intake may help to reduce energy consumption and facilitate weight loss,” said Barbara Gower, a nutritional sciences professor and the study’s leader.  

The glycemic index (GI) measures the effects of carbohydrates on bloodsugar levels. High-GI foods break down faster and release glucose intothe blood stream quicker. Low-GI foods do the exact opposite. Read more about GI here.