New evidence suggests that processed foods containing ‘bad’ carbohydrates may more than double the risk of developing prostate and breast cancers.
The new finding, which was unveiled Mar. 5 Experimental Biology 2016 gathering, shows that curbing consumption of sugary drinks and processed lunch foods may also lower the risk of getting prostate or breast cancer later on.
Dr. Nour Makarem of the New York University and fellow researchers sifted through the health records of more than 3,000 participants who agreed to provide data on their dietary habits. Participants were tracked for more than two decades.
Researchers organized the volunteers’ intake of foods based on glycemic index (GI), which can tell how healthy carbohydrates in one’s diet are based on how they influence blood sugar levels. Next, the research group looked for an association between carbohydrate intake and cancer risk.
Scientists found that eating pizza, prepackaged desserts, hamburgers and other highly processed foods on a regular basis increased the risk of prostate cancer by twofold. Sugary drinks including sodas and sweetened fruit juices boosted that risk threefold, researchers said.
The team also learned that consuming too many foods with a high GI such as bad carbohydrates could boost prostate cancer risk by 88 percent. The study results were adjusted for other risk factors that may influence risk of cancer including age, sex, family history of cancer, history of substance abuse, and so on.
On the other hand, participants who ate carbohydrates with a low GI including whole grains and non-starchy veggies apparently lowered their risk of developing breast cancer by 67 percent.
Scientists noted that the types of carbohydrates we regularly consume have a tremendous influence on our risk of developing cancer. The researchers added that healthy foods containing ‘good’ carbs shield us against the disease. By contrast, fast foods and sweetened beverages boost the risk of both prostate and breast cancers.
But study participants who ate more beneficial carbohydrates also consumed other healthy foods such as fruits, legumes, and vegetables. Study authors concluded that it doesn’t matter the quantity of carbs we consume but their quality.
The findings are consistent with a separate study led by the University of Texas which had revealed that a high intake of foods with high GI is associated with an increased risk of developing lung cancer.
The latest study also found that a regular intake of peas, beans and lentils lowered the risk of cancers triggered by obesity by up to 32 percent.
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