An alarming study has found eating foods high on the glycemic index (GI), such as bagels, white bread, and rice, increase the risk of developing lung cancer by 49 percent — particularly for non-smokers.
In fact, when researchers studied the diets of 4,320 people, they were shocked to find non-smokers with diets high on the GI had nearly double the risk to develop the disease than those whose eating habits remained on the low end of the GI.
Foods with high GI raise blood glucose and insulin, in turn causing increased insulin growth factors (IGFs), which are associated with greater risk for developing lung cancer.
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center conducted the study of 1,905 people who had cancer diagnoses and 2,415 healthy people, which was published this month in the journal Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, RT reported.
“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,” explained Dr. Xifeng Wu, study senior author.
Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths in the United States. More the 150,000 people will die from lung cancer in 2016 alone, according to the American Cancer Society.
What’s more, a second study revealed Americans consume more than half their calories via “ultra-processed” foods, which directly contribute to health problems like obesity and heart disease.
“Ultra-processed foods are products that contain several manufactured ingredients that are not generally used when cooking from scratch, including natural and artificial flavors or colors, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and other additives,” CBS News explained.
Obvious examples of ultra-processed foods include soft drinks; chicken and fish nuggets, as well as other reconstituted meat products; packaged snacks, both sweet and savory; packaged baked goods; and instant noodle products.
Lead author of the study, Professor Carlos Augusto Monteiro at the University of São Paulo School of Public Health, Dept. of Nutrition, explained such highly-processed foods are designed to imitate natural foods, but often “disguise undesirable qualities of the final product.”
Where a diet of fresh foods and minimally-processed products — like cheeses and simple breads — are healthiest, Monteiro told CBS News, ultra-processed products “are manufactured and marketed to replace those foods, drinks, dishes, and meals.”
Such ‘foods’ are generally high in sugars, saturated fat, and sodium and contribute to a wide range of health issues, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and many more.
Both studies ultimately suggest the need to cut out highly-processed products and return to a natural diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. In other words, food — not products.