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A High Glycemic Index Diet Raises The Risk Of Lung Cancer

A High Glycemic Index Diet Raises The Risk Of Lung Cancer

Most people think smoking and asbestos are the only risk factors for lung cancer. It turns out what you eat has a significant bearing.

This finding comes from new study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. Glycemic index (GI) is a measure of carbohydrate present in foods and how quickly a food raises blood glucose levels. It is primarily used for diabetes management. High GI foods raise blood glucose levels fastest. Examples of high GI foods include white bread, most breakfast cereals, cookies and cake and other foods that contain flour, as well as short grain white rice.

For this particular study, researchers analyzed the data of 1,905 individuals with lung cancer and 2,413 healthy people who were part of a lung cancer study at MD Anderson. The findings were quite startling; compared with participants who were in the lowest quintile of glycemic index foods in their diet, those who were in the highest quintile had a 49 percent higher risk of lung cancer. There was a 92 percent higher risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma of the lung. This type of lung cancer makes up around 25 to 30 percent of all cases. There was a less significant association between a high GI diet and greater risk of adenocarcinoma, which makes up around 40 percent of lung cancer cases.

Among individuals who have never smoked, those in the highest GI quintile were more than twice as likely to develop lung cancer than those in the lowest quintile. One of the study authors, Dr Wu went on to say: “Although smoking is a major, well-characterized risk factor for lung cancer, it does not account for all the variations in lung cancer risk. This study provides additional evidence that diet may independently, and jointly with other risk factors, impact lung cancer etiology.  The results from this study suggest that, besides maintaining healthy lifestyles, reducing the consumption of foods and beverages with high glycemic index may serve as a means to lower the risk of lung cancer.”

This finding is not too surprising because a high sugar and carbohydrate intake is linked to an increased risk of several cancers, including bowel, uterine and breast cancer. A high GI diet typically leads to insulin resistance and elevated blood insulin and glucose levels. This can act to hasten the growth of tumors, or promote formation of new tumors.

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