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Can Carbs Cause Lung Cancer?

A New Study Illustrates the Scary Link Between Refined Carbs and Lung Cancer

If you're having a hard time giving up your bagel habit, a recent study published by Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention may convince you.

Scientists from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have found that people consuming a diet rich in high-glycemic foods (think refined, processed carbs) are at a 49 percent higher risk of developing lung cancer. The study is the largest ever to show the relationship between glycemic index and the disease. Foods with a high glycemic index can cause a spike in blood pressure and insulin, which scientists say cause a chain reaction in the body, leading to an increased risk of lung cancer.

Scientists conducted the study on 1,905 recently diagnosed lung cancer patients and 2,413 individuals in regular health. The subjects were then divided by their glycemic index and glycemic load. Glycemic index measures the quality of carbohydrates in comparison to how rapidly sugar levels are raised. Glycemic load, on the other hand, measures the quantity of dietary carbohydrates. They observed a 49 percent risk in lung cancer in patients with a higher daily glycemic index, in comparison to those with a lower index. However, no real link between the quantity of carbs consumed and lung cancer was present. Xifeng Wu, professor of epidemiology, says that the absence of correlation between the two suggests that the quality of carbohydrates consumed has the larger effect on lung cancer.

Lung cancer has commonly been associated with smokers, but the results of this study indeed suggest that maintaining a healthy, low-glycemic diet also plays a critical role in lowering your risk of cancer. Lifestyle adjustments including incorporating low-glycemic foods into your diet, eliminating fruits and beverages high in starch, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol, coupled with regular exercise, will help to lower your risk.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts
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