Is Your White Bread Giving You Lung Cancer? Foods With High Glycemic Index Linked To Cancer, Scientists Say

While carbs are blamed by many fitness experts for increasing your waistline, scientists say that you should be leery of your white bread for more reasons than just physical appearance. Foods such as white bread, puffed rice, and bagels were linked by scientists to an increased risk of lung cancer. With cigarette usage at record lows, could HGI carbs be our new lung cancer Achilles heel?

The Daily Mail reports that scientists have linked the consumption of high glycemic index carbs with an increase in lung cancer risk. In fact, the study found that people who consumed a high GI diet were 49 percent more likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer despite having no history of smoking. Dr. Stephanie Melkonian, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, worked on the study and noted that those with the highest daily GI consumption rate were at most risk of developing lung cancer.

"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."

Melkonian noted that it was not the amount of carbs consumed that caused the increased cancer risk, but rather the quality of carbs consumed. To determine if high glycemic index foods were to blame or overall glycemic load, they studied patients on a high-GI diet in comparison to those on a diet high in carbs with a low glycemic index such as steel cut oats, whole wheat bread, and sweet potatoes. The results indicated it wasn't the amount of carbs consumed that caused the 49 percent increase in lung cancer, but rather the quality of carbs consumed by the patient.

The most dangerous carbs for the waistline and for your health appear to be high glycemic index carbs made from white flour, which is highly processed. Here is a list of carbs considered to be high glycemic that researchers with the Anderson Cancer Center suggest consumers should avoid in order to lower their risk of lung cancer.

  • White bread
  • White bagels
  • Puffed rice such as rice cakes or cereal
  • White rice
  • Corn Flakes
  • Corn Chips
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Macaroni and cheese from a box
  • Popcorn
  • Saltine crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Melons and pineapples
  • Pumpkin
  • Russet potatoes

Instead of eating the above items, the researchers suggest replacing them with the following low glycemic index carbs.

  • Nuts
  • 100 percent stone-ground whole wheat bread
  • Pumpernickel bread
  • Barley cereal
  • Muesli
  • Steel-cut or rolled oats
  • Oat bran
  • Bulgar Wheat
  • Wholegrain or meal pastas
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Corn
  • Lima beans
  • Lentils
  • Legumes

Medical News Daily points out that non-smokers on a high glycemic index carbs diet continued to have a high lung cancer risk despite having never smoked.

"Although smoking is a major, well-characterized risk factor for lung cancer, it does not account for all the variations in lung cancer risk. This study provides additional evidence that diet may independently, and jointly with other risk factors, impact lung cancer etiology. The results from this study suggest that, besides maintaining healthy lifestyles, reducing the consumption of foods and beverages with high glycemic index may serve as a means to lower the risk of lung cancer."

The reason for the increased risk of lung cancer in those consuming a high-GI diet is not fully understood. However, the researchers noted that it likely has to do with disturbances in the insulin-like growth factors that are associated with increased lung cancer risks.

"Diets high in glycemic index result in higher levels of blood glucose and insulin, which promote perturbations [disturbances] 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."

What do you think about the new research that suggests a diet high in white bread and high glycemic foods can lead to an increased risk of lung cancer? Will you be tossing out your white bread for whole wheat?

[Image via Shutterstock]