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, many 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 colorectal cancer. The amount and type of carbohydrates people eat, and how those carbs effect blood sugar does not play an independent role in colorectal cancer, the analysis found.
For the analysis, researchers looked at 14 population studies. All studies were prospective, asking participants about their dietary habits and then tracking whether they were diagnosed with colon cancer.
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 cancer risk and total carbohydrates, glycemic index, or glycemic load, which takes into account the food’s portion size.
Lead author of this study, Dagfinn Aune, also led a major analysis of the literature on breast cancer risk and dietary fiber. We previously talked about those findings with Aune, which you can read here in Cancer Research Update.