The list of foods that increase your risk of cancer has just expanded, thanks to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas. The study, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, suggests eating a diet with a high glycemic index can increase your risk of developing lung cancer by 49%.
Carbs with a high glycemic index include white bread, cornflakes, bagels and white rice.
Tobacco remains the leading cause of lung cancer – but it doesn’t account for all cases – especially in non-smokers.
The study, which surveyed 1905 patients newly diagnosed with lung cancer and 2413 healthy individuals, found that there was a higher risk of lung cancer in patients with the highest daily GI. Cutting out foods with a high GI also reduced a person’s risk.
So how does bread affect your lungs? Dr Stephanie Melkonian, of the University of Texas, explains: “Diets high in glycemic index result in higher levels of blood glucose and insulin, which promote perturbations [disturbances] in the insulin-like growth factors (IGFs).” Increased levels of these IGFs are responsible for the increased risk of lung cancer.
Glycemic load had no effect on risk, which suggests it’s the quality of the carbs, not the quantity, that increase risk.
So yes, you can keep eating carbs – just try to focus on whole-wheat, rolled oats and brown rice instead. (We’re not sure if whole-wheat doughnuts will work out, but we do know that whole-wheat croissants are DELICIOUS.)