Sugary foods linked to colon cancer

February 11, 2004 in Cancer Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News

Sugary foods linked to colon cancer

Women who consume a lot of foods that rapidly boost blood sugar levels are nearly three times more likely to develop colorectal cancer than women who consume a low "glycemic load" diet, new research from Harvard Medical School in Boston suggests.

The glycemic load is based on the number of carbohydrate in a particular food and how rapidly these carbs produce a rise in blood sugar levels. Examples of high glycemic load foods include refined flour products, sweets, and baked potatoes.

The research team analyzed data from more than 38,000 women who participated in the Women's Health Study. During for a period of about 8 years. Colon cancer risk increased as dietary glycemic load rose. Compared with women with the lowest glycemic loads, those with highest loads were nearly three times more likely to develop colon cancer. Total carbohydrate and fruit sugar intake were also directly linked to colon cancer risk.

A diet with a high glycemic load may increase the risk of colorectal cancer by affecting insulin and insulin-like growth factors or through various inflammatory effects, the researchers note. Insulin is thought to promote the growth of colon cells.

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