There is an ongoing debate about carbohydrates. Are they healthy? Should you cut them out of your diet? What’s the right amount you should be eating? Then there’s the debate of the right carbohydrates to eat, meaning refined versus whole grains. It can be quite confusing, to say the least.
When it comes to carbohydrates, conversations usually center around their ability to lead to weight gain, but researchers suggest that they can also be a risk factor for a certain type of cancer.
Bladder cancer is becoming a more common form of cancer. One of its biggest risk factors is smoking, along with having diabetes. In regards to diabetes, having high levels of insulin or even sugar in the bloodstream can be a big contributing factor to bladder cancer. This suggests that lifestyle habits may go a long way in the prevention of bladder cancer.
The latest study examined glycemic index and glycemic load – the ability for foods to increase sugar along with carbohydrate content – in relation to the risk of bladder cancer among Italians. The study included 578 individuals with confirmed bladder cancer. The control group consisted of 608 participants who were hospitalized for unrelated health conditions. Lifestyle, dietary habits, age, and education information were obtained through questionnaires and the dietary questionnaire was used to determine glycemic load and index. The researchers also took into account smoking status, alcohol consumption, education, abdominal obesity, and total energy intake, which could all affect results.
The research found that compared to non-smokers, heavy smokers had a seven-fold higher risk of bladder cancer. Having abdominal obesity was also found to be a greater risk factor but alcohol intake, education, and total energy intake did not result in a higher risk of bladder cancer.
Although there wasn’t a link between totally available carbohydrates and glycemic index to bladder cancer risk, there was a significant link between glycemic load and bladder cancer risk. The greater the consumption of bread and pastas, the higher the risk of bladder cancer. It’s important to note that pasta consumption and bladder cancer risk was highest among men. Bladder cancer risk associated with high glycemic load was greatest among those who didn’t consume the recommended amount of vegetables. They took in their carbohydrates through foods like bread and pastas.
Previous studies have found a link between high refined carbohydrate consumption and bladder cancer risk. This is just another study to add to the evidence. It is recommended that people consume whole grain carbohydrates and more fruits and vegetables rather than rely on refined carbohydrates.