A study led by a team of researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has suggested that a diet rich in complex sugars may increase the risk of colon cancer recurrence, especially for those who are overweight or obese.
Over 1,000 patients diagnosed with stage III colon cancer who had undergone surgery and participated in a National Cancer Institute-sponsored chemotherapy trial reported their diet intake during and six months after the trial. Researchers looked at the participants' total carbohydrate intake, along with their glycemic index and glycemic load. The connection was then made between the measurements obtained and the recurrence of colon cancer.
Participants with the highest glycemic load and dietary intake of carbohydrates had an 80 percent increased risk of colon cancer recurrence. The increase was even greater among those who were overweight or obese.
So how can a high-carbohydrate diet lead to colon cancer recurrence? Experts suggest that colon cancer survivors whose diets and activity levels lead to excessive amounts of insulin in the blood have a higher risk of disease recurrence. High insulin levels can be produced by eating too many sugary, starchy foods.
Jeffery Meyerhardt, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, states:
In light of our and other's research, we theorize that factors including a high glycemic load may stimulate the body's production of insulin. That, in turn, may increase the proliferation of cells and prevent the natural cell-death process in cancer cells that have metastasized from their original site.
Our study certainly supports the idea that diet can impact the progression of colon cancer, and that patients and their doctors should consider this when making post-treatment plans. But further research is needed to confirm our finding.
Meyerhardt suggests that "eating less sugar" is not a conclusive finding but it may be a potential hazard leading to disease recurrence.
It is important to note that this study does not suggest that a high-carbohydrate diet will in fact cause a recurrence of colon cancer, but it does suggest that diet may increase the risk even more.
I believe we have made the assumption that a high-fat, high-alcohol intake diet may have been the only key contributing factors when it comes to increasing the risk of developing colon cancer. Well, now it seems we have another contributor to add to the mix, at least when it comes to disease recurrence. But I can't help to think that if a high-carbohydrate diet can potentially cause colon cancer recurrence, then it may also be an area to consider for those at risk of developing colon cancer.
The typical Western diet, also known as the "meat-sweet" diet, is having devastating effects on Americans. When will the madness stop? How much diet-related disease do we have to see before drastic measures need to be taken?