Could a High Carb Diet Lead to Lung Cancer?
By now, it’s likely everybody already knows that excessive carbs and sugar are a major contributor to weight gain for most people. But a recent study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention suggests that foods with a high glycemic index – white bread, bagels, corn flakes, puffed rice, etc. – may increase your risk of lung cancer by almost half. ‘We observed a 49 percent increased risk of lung cancer among subjects with the highest daily GI compared to those with the lowest daily GI,’ said lead study author Dr. Stephanie Melkonian of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Now how’s that for a scary thought the next time you decide to stuff your face with snack foods while watching the late show?
So what’s the danger of a high carb (aka high glycemic index type foods) diet?
For your body to run at its best, you should strive to keep your blood sugar levels relatively constant throughout the day by eating a proper diet. The ‘glycemic index’ is a measure of how much a certain food will raise your blood sugar levels after you eat it. Ever eaten a candy bar and felt a burst of hyper energy, followed by a crash? The refined simple sugars in candy, and other processed carbs rank high on the glycemic index, meaning they’ll spike your blood sugar and switch your pancreas into insulin overload to compensate.
It’s no surprise that this blood sugar roller coaster would wreak havoc on your weight, but this new data about a potential link to lung cancer is even more concerning. Uhhh, it’s downright alarming in our book! We normally think of lung cancer as something that happens only to people who smoke, but as it turns out, it may be nonsmokers who are at the highest risk. The study shows that among the surveyed group of nonsmokers, those who ate a high-GI diet were more than twice as likely to develop the disease.
Could you be at risk?
The American Cancer Society estimates that 150,000 people in the US will die of lung cancer this year alone. And while tobacco use is still the number one cause of lung cancer, it’s not the only cause.
High glycemic index foods include:
- White bread and bagels
- Corn flakes, puffed rice, instant oatmeal, and other cereals
- White rice and pasta
- Pretzels, popcorn, and crackers
According to the study, cutting these foods out of your diet could decrease your risk of developing lung cancer. And even if it doesn’t, it is still a wise choice to eliminate overly processed foods that lead to unhealthy weight gain and other serious health concerns, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
How was this study conducted?
This study, the largest ever to investigate the potential link between glycemic index and lung cancer, surveyed 1,905 patients with recently developed lung cancer. Researchers found there was a higher risk of lung cancer among patients with the highest daily GI.
Read more about the study by clicking here.
Kicking the crappy carb habit will do much more than help you lose weight – you’ll have more energy, more mental clarity, and you may even reduce your risk of developing lung cancer. Taking the necessary steps to gain control over your diet and health will likely reduce some risk factors for cancer. Start now by eliminating simple sugars and overly processed foods from your diet. This is a wise choice no matter your age or stage of life.
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