To all the sweet tooth out there, you might want to pay close attention to this. It’s not only smokers that are at risk of having lung cancer. Research has proven that people who eat a lot of sugary, starchy diet may be raising their risk of lung cancer, even if they don’t smoke.

It has been discovered that people who recall eating more foods that have a high glycemic index also were more likely to develop lung cancer. Glycemic index is a term that’s familiar to people with diabetes. It describes food that raises blood sugar and stimulates production of insulin like bagels, white rice and some fruits such as melon and pineapple.

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Previous studies have linked glycemic index with cancer risk, but it’s rare to link it with lung cancer. That may be mostly because lung cancer is so overwhelmingly caused by smoking.

A recent study was carried out by the team at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, on 1,905 people who had just been diagnosed with lung cancer compared to 2,415 people without cancer. They were made to answer questions on their eating habits, smoking, income and other factors. It was realised that people who ate the most foods with a high glycemic index were about 50 percent more likely to be in the lung cancer group than people who reported they ate the fewest high-glycemic foods.‎

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Dr. Xifeng Wu who led the study submitted that: “The results from this study suggest that besides maintaining healthy lifestyles, reducing the consumption of foods and beverages with high glycemic index may serve as a means to lower the risk of lung cancer.”

The doctors believe that there’s a theory that high-glycemic foods stimulate the body to make insulin, which in turn affects the growth of cells via compounds called insulin-like growth factors or IGF which can fuel the growth of tiny tumors that causes cancer.

“IGFs have been shown to play a critical role in regulating cell proliferation and differentiation in cancer and there is evidence to suggest that IGFs are elevated in lung cancer patients,” Wu said.

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It’s also believed that Glycemic index can contribute to other types of cancers as narrated by Dr. Wu:

“Previous studies have investigated the association between glycemic index, and the related measure glycemic load and a variety of cancers including colorectal, stomach, pancreas, endometrial, ovarian, prostate, and thyroid but these studies are limited and results have been largely inconclusive.”

Adding to the growing number of evidence that people can lower their cancer risk not only by staying away from tobacco and exercising more, but by choosing a healthier diet. ‎Experts have advised to stay away from red meats and avoid high-fat dairy foods. Instead of the unhealthy foods, we should rather consume lot of fruits and vegetables as they can raise a person’s odds of developing cancer.‎

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According to the American Diabetes Association, low-glycemic foods include:

100 percent stone-ground whole wheat or pumpernickel bread, Oatmeal (rolled or steel-cut), oat bran, muesli Pasta, converted rice, barley, sweet potato, corn, yam, lima/butter beans, peas, legumes, and lentils

Medium glycemic index foods include:

Whole wheat, rye and pita bread, quick oats, brown, wild or basmati rice.

High glycemic index foods include:

White bread, including bagels, corn flakes, puffed rice, bran flakes, instant oatmeal, short grain white rice, rice pasta, macaroni and cheese from mix, russet potato, pumpkin, pretzels, rice cakes, popcorn, saltine crackers, melons and pineapple

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