03 November 2008

'Healthy' carbs increase cancer risk

Supports Chapter 8: Why 'five portions'? and Chapter 23: Cancer: Disease of civilization.

Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany have published a review of some key biological mechanisms that may provide important metabolic links between nutrition, physical activity and cancer.

These include insulin resistance and reduced glucose tolerance, which are caused by eating a 'healthy' carbohydrate-based diet.

Also included are increased activation of the growth hormone/IGF-I axis, alterations in sex-steroid synthesis and/or bioavailability, and low-grade chronic inflammation through the effects of adipokines and cytokines.

These, too, may be adversely affected by our so-called 'healthy' lifestyle. For example, cholesterol is a major building block in the production of the sex hormones; inflammation may be caused by any form of stress which raises levels of cortisol in the blood as well as high levels of glucose and insulin.

This latest study confirms several earlier studies which have found that a carb-based diet increaes the risk of several types of cancer – and significantly, the ones that are now on the increase.

Dossus L, Kaaks R. Nutrition, metabolic factors and cancer risk. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008; 22: 551-71.
PMID: 18971118

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