Carbohydrates linked to lung cancer

Carbohydrates linked to lung cancer

If you are having a hard time giving up carbs, a new study may convince you.

Researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center found individuals whose diets contained a high glycemic index had a 49-percent higher chance of being diagnosed with lung cancer.

“Glycemic index (GI) is the measure of quality of dietary carbohydrates, defined by how quickly blood sugar levels are raised following a meal,” said Xiefeng Wu, MD, PhD and lead author of the study.

According to Dr. Wu, foods with high glycemic indexes include white bread, pretzels, bagels, baguettes, white rice, corn flakes, rice cakes and white potatoes. Some examples of low GI foods include whole-wheat, pumpernickel bread, rolled oatmeal and pasta.

The study also found that individuals of the highest GI group who had never smoked before were more than twice as likely to develop lung cancer as those in the lowest group. For smokers, the risk was only elevated by 31 percent between the two groups.

More people in the United States die of lung cancer than any other type of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. About 158,000 Americans are expected to die of lung cancer this year, which accounts for about one in four cancer deaths.

“We know that diets enriched in antioxidants – like fruits and vegetables – may actually decrease the risk of lung cancer while certain foods – like saturated fats, dairy and red meat – may actually increase the risk of cancer,” says Dr. Sandeep Chunduri, a hematologist oncologist at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill. “It was noted that it is not the quantity of carbohydrates but rather the quality which determined the increase in risk.”

To help lower your risk of cancer, Dr. Chunduri offers the following advice:

  • Diet is a very important risk factor for developing cancer. This is independent of smoking. Diets enriched in antioxidants may help decrease the risk while diets that increase glycemic index increase the risk of lung cancer.
  • Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle may decrease the risk of cancer in general.
  • Early education on diet and early smoking cessation is vital in reducing the incidence of lung cancer.

Dr. Chunduri cautions that more studies need to be done to incorporate other factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure or other heart disorders.

Related Posts


Subscribe to health enews newsletter

About the Author

health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.