A new study finds the quality of carbs people eat may make a big difference in their likelihood of developing breast or prostate cancer. The risk doubled and tripled in those who consumed bad carbs, while the risk was markedly reduced in those who consumed good carbs.
Nutrition experts have long advised the public to eat high-quality carbs of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes along with good unsaturated fats. They have also recommended the avoidance of poor-quality carbs of sugary drinks, sweets and processed snack foods. The new findings build on previous research showing the link between nutritious food and health, as well as the connection between junk food and disease.
In the study presented at the Experimental Biology 2016 meeting, scientists tracked the diets of 3,100 volunteers for more than 20 years. They used this info to calculate the consumed food’s glycemic index, which is a measurement of the quality and quantity of carbohydrates. Next, they looked at the participants’ health records to determine if associations existed between carb quality and cancer rates.
Bad Carbs Tripled Prostate Cancer Risk
The results were striking. Men who drank sugary beverages, including sodas and fruit juice, had a risk of prostate cancer 88 percent greater than those who never drank the beverages. A higher intake of processed lunch foods like burgers, pizza and meat sandwiches doubled the risk. After factoring out the influence of obesity, the links held, which suggests bad cards can increase cancer risk regardless of a person’s weight. The negative impact of these foods is significant, as prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer fatalities in men.
“Our study showed very strong associations between certain foods and cancer, in particular with prostate cancer,” said lead author Nour Makarem, a Ph.D. student at New York University. “There had not been very many studies on food sources and prostate cancer previously.”
Good Carbs Reduced Breast Cancer Risk by Two-Thirds
The consumption of good carbs, which included low-glycemic foods like whole grains, most fruits, non-starchy vegetables and legumes, was connected to a 67 percent decreased breast cancer risk. These results reveal that the quality of carbs consumed is more important than the quantity.
An additional finding suggested legumes in particular may have cancer-fighting properties. Eating beans, peas and lentils was linked to a 32 percent reduced risk of obesity and overweight-related cancers, including colorectal, prostate and breast malignancies.
While the findings show links rather than cause-effect relationships, they are consistent with earlier studies that indicate cancer cells feed on sugar. Likewise, they are in line with research that shows diets high in refined carbohydrates might increase the risk of an array of adverse health effects. This is due to their propensity to deregulate glucose and produce weight gain, both of which are factors that elevate cancer risk.
“Current cancer prevention guidelines recommend avoiding sugary drinks and limiting the consumption of energy-dense foods, which tend to be high in refined carbohydrates,” said Makarem. “I think our findings add to the body of evidence behind this recommendation and strengthen the associations between these types of food and cancer.”
Since bad carbs led to a big spike in cancer rates and good carbs led to plummeting cancer rates, the study underscores the importance of consuming quality carbs. When shopping in the supermarket, carbs like cookies and chips can call our name loudly. This research gives us another reason to ignore their clamoring and choose heathier options.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.