If you thought that smoking cigarettes was the only way you could increase your risk of lung disease, you might be wrong.
According to recent research, people who eat a diet that is rich in sugars and starches may actually be increasing their chances of developing lung cancer, even if they do not smoke.
Researchers noted that people who reported having eaten more foods high on the glycaemic index were more likely to get lung cancer. The glycaemic index is a list of foods that are known to raise your blood sugar and boost insulin production in the body. Foods high on the glycaemic index include white rice, bagels, melon, and pineapple.
This certainly is not the first study linking a person’s diet – especially one rich in sugars and starches – to cancer, but it is very rare to show such a link to lung cancer, which is typically associated with smoking.
The study was carried out by a team of researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. It involved 1,905 people who had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer along with 2,415 individuals who did not have lung cancer. Researchers questioned participants about their smoking habits, diet, income, and other factors.
Those individuals who ate the most foods that score highly on the glycaemic index were shown to be about 50 per cent more likely to have lung cancer. Interestingly, this link was strongest among those who had never smoked.
Ultimately, researchers found that people might be able to lower their risk of getting lung cancer simply by reducing the amount of foods and beverages they consume with a high glycaemic index.
Even though the results are interesting, the study is by no means conclusive. This is mainly because researchers did not actually observe what participants ate; they simply asked them to recall it. Additionally, those who eat high-glycaemic foods might also be doing something else that could increase their cancer risk. This means that a closer look is definitely needed, but the findings are important.
Lung cancer is one of the top cancers that kill within the United Kingdom and United States, and diet is already known to affect overall health.
What does this particular research tell us about the connection between diet and lung cancer? It essentially suggests that we need to do more than just refrain from smoking. We need to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating and drinking fewer foods with high glycaemic index ratings.