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Carbs Not a Risk for Colorectal Cancer

Bread Loaf Slices on a Rustic Board Obesity, type 2 diabetes and inactivity are all linked to increased risk of colorectal cancer, and all are also linked to insulin resistance. Because the key nutrient that affects our insulin levels is carbohydrates, a lot of researchers have investigated the link between carbs and colon cancer risk.

Now, a new review of the research suggests that carb-lovers need not worry when it comes to colon cancer. The amount of carbohydrates people eat and how those carbs effect blood sugar does not play an independent role in colorectal cancer, finds the analysis published last week in Cancer Causes Control.

The study was funded by the World Cancer Research Fund as part of AICR/WCRF's Continuous Update Project (CUP).

For the analysis, researchers looked at 14 population studies. All studies were prospective, asking participants about their dietary habits and then tracking incidence of colon cancer incidence.

The studies investigated colon cancer risk related to carbohydrates or the glycemic index, a measure of the effect of a food's carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. When comparing those who consumed the highest to the lowest amounts, the analysis found no link between colorectal caner risk and total carbohydrates, glycemic index, or glycemic load, which takes into account the food's portion size.

Sources: Aune D; Chan DS; Lau R; Vieira R; Greenwood DC; Kampman E; Norat T. (15 Mar 2012). Carbohydrates, glycemic index, glycemic load, and colorectal cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Cancer Causes Control.

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