Throw Out Your White Bread! A New Study Links Carbs To Lung Cancer


A new study from the University of Texas has bad news for people who love bread: Certain types of carbohydrates were associated with a higher risk of lung cancer. And unlike some of the more panicky and dumb statements about things causing cancer, this one does have actual data and evidence behind it. But there are some lingering questions that need answering, and despite the Facebook gloating of paleo types, it’s a lot more complex than “all carbs cause cancer.”

While lung cancer is comparatively rare across the entire population, it’s still one of the most common cancers. Fourteen percent of all new cancer diagnoses are lung cancers, and it’s the most fatal cancer. That said, 90 percent of lung cancers are tied to smoking, so those fatality numbers will change over time.

So we’re not talking about an enormous risk here. But there is still a risk: The study found that a diet with a high glycemic index, or GI, elevated the risk of lung cancer in certain populations. Most relevantly, people who never smoked saw an increased risk, as well as individuals with the squamous-cell carcinoma type of lung cancer.

The good news is that you don’t have to put down the mac and cheese, or at least, you don’t have to put it down for fear of lung cancer. The glycemic index tracks how quickly the carbs you eat turn into sugar, so it’s foods like white potatoes, white bread, and rice cakes that you need to avoid, at least in theory.

The problem here, though, can be boiled down to one question: What’s the mechanism? It’s not a secret that consistently high blood sugar can cause enormous damage to your body, lungs included. Just ask any diabetic getting the lecture about what body parts they can lose. That said, there haven’t been, so far, many connections between consistent high blood sugar and cancer, although recent research has found links. But why does it affect certain populations, like people who have never smoked, more than others? Why a specific type of lung cancer?

As always, it’s important to remember that it’s not eating this stuff, period, that causes the problem. It’s eating a lot of it, consistently, over a period of years, that causes the problem. In the end, the best conclusion to draw from this is to eat more veggies and whole grains and less foods with a high glycemic index. Especially McChoco Potatoes, because come on, that’s just a matter of self-respect.

(Via NBC)