Fears of link between carbohydrate-heavy diet and colon cancer overblown, researchers say

Nov 22, 2010

High-carb diets may not be linked to colon cancer

Despite a theoretical relationship, eating large amounts of refined carbohydrates and starches does not appear to increase one's risk of colon cancer, according to the results of a large-scale survey of Chinese women, Reuters reports.

The news agency says survey data appears not to support the link between glycemic index and colon cancer. Glycemic index is a measurement of how quickly carbohydrates in a particular food raise blood sugar levels. Refined carbohydrates, like the white rice on which traditional Chinese diets are based, have a high GI, and given the increased risk of colon cancer seen in type 2 diabetes sufferers who have abnormally high blood sugar levels, scientists have long suspected a relationship, Reuters says.

The news agency does point out, however, that the study alone does not disprove any possible link. It relied on survey responses from its subjects, which might not have been accurate. Additionally, the limited sample set does not provide any indication of whether men might be subject to increased risks from high-GI diets.

Reuters also says there are a number of much clearer lifestyle associations with colon cancer, including smoking and excessive consumption of processed or red meat. Correcting these could lead to better health and life insurance rates.

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