A high carbohydrate shake can cause negative effects on heart function, according to researchers from the Vanderbilt University Medical Centre and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Apparently, the glucose from the carb-loading diet can decrease the heart’s production of atrial natriuretic peptide, the hormone that reduces blood pressure and gets rid of excess salt by up to 25 percent.

The study published on Feb. 23 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology explains the process that involves the molecule miR-425, which inhibits atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) production. The glucose causes the cells to make more of this molecule, decreasing ANP production as a result.

ANP production was reduced after consuming the high-carb shake. Photo from Pixabay/skeeze

ANP production was reduced after consuming the high-carb shake. Photo from Pixabay/skeeze

The researchers add that the atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) production is reduced in obese people, causing them to retain more salt and experience high blood pressure. Because of this, the team advice that a carbohydrate-loading diet is not ideal, especially to obese individuals.

The study involved recruiting 33 participants and giving them a shake that contains 264 calories. The research team analysed their blood levels for six hours.

These participants were on a standard diet two days before the study. The team found that the shake resulted to ANP production by up to 25 percent for several hours. The main reason for the reduction is the increase in glucose.

“When you take in a high-carb shake a lot of things happen, including increases in glucose and insulin,” says senior author Thomas Wang, the chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre. “However, the increase in glucose appears to be the main thing driving the drop in ANP levels.”

In collaboration with first author Pankaj Arora from UAB, Wang comments, “The carbohydrate load had a significant and notable effect on circulating ANP levels. Experimental studies suggest that it’s not good to make less ANP.”