White bread, bagels and rice 'increase the risk of lung cancer by 49 per cent'
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Carbohydrates, long blamed for fuelling obesity, have now been linked to lung cancer. A new study has revealed a 49 per cent increase in risk among people consuming a diet with a high glycemic index.
The index measures how quickly blood sugar levels are raised after a meal, and foods with a high GI include white bread or bagels, corn flakes and puffed rice.
However, diets high in fruits and vegetables were found to decrease the risk.
Lead study author Dr Stephanie Melkonian, of University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, said: "We observed a 49 per cent increased risk of lung cancer among subjects with the highest daily GI compared to those with the lowest daily GI.
• Breath test that tells you if you have lung cancer "Diets high in glycemic index result in higher levels of blood glucose and insulin, which promote perturbations in the insulin-like growth factors (IGFs).
"Previous research suggests increased levels of IGFs are associated with increased lung cancer risk. "However, the association between glycemic index and lung cancer risk was unclear." In the UK, there are around 45,525 new cases of the disease diagnosed each year, while 35,371 people lose their life to the disease annually, according to Cancer Research UK.
In the US, lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women.
The study, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, is the largest ever to investigate the potential link between glycemic index and lung cancer.
Scientists surveyed 1,905 patients newly diagnosed with lung cancer and compared the results with 2,413 healthy individuals.
Senior study author Dr Xifeng Wu said: "The associations were more pronounced among subjects who were never smokers, diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma or had less than 12 years of education.
"This suggests that it is the average quality, instead of quantity, of carbohydrates consumed that may modulate lung cancer risk."
Dr Wu added: "The results from this study suggest that, besides maintaining healthy lifestyles, such as avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol consumption and being physically active, reducing the consumption of foods and beverages with high glycemic index may serve as a means to lower the risk of lung cancer." Source: Telegraph.