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  #1   ^
Old Thu, Aug-05-04, 17:43
tamarian's Avatar
tamarian tamarian is offline
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Default Eating lots of carbs may raise the risk of breast cancer, study finds

NATION: Eating lots of carbs may raise the risk of breast cancer, study finds


High-carb diets may increase more than just waistlines. New research suggests they might raise the risk of breast cancer.

Women in Mexico who ate a lot of carbohydrates were more than twice as likely to get breast cancer than those who ate less starch and sugar, scientists found.

The study is hardly the last word on the subject, but it is one of the few to examine how the popular but controversial low-carb diet craze might affect the odds of getting cancer, as opposed to its effects on cholesterol and heart disease.

The new findings also don't mean that it is safe or healthful to eat lots of meat, cheese or fats, as many people who go on low-carb diets do, experts say.

"There are many concerns with eating diets high in animal fat," said Dr. Walter Willett, chief of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. "If people do want to cut back on carbohydrates, it's really important to do it in a way that emphasizes healthy fats, like salads with salad dressings."

Willett worked on the study with doctors at Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica in Cuernavaca, Mexico. It was funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ministry of Health of Mexico, and the American Institute for Cancer Research. Results were published Friday in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Fats, fiber and specific foods have long been studied for their effects on various types of cancer, but few firm links have emerged. Being overweight is known to raise risk, but the new study took that into account and still found greater risk from high carbohydrate consumption.

Scientists think carbs may increase cancer risk by rapidly raising sugar in the blood, which prompts a surge of insulin to be secreted. This causes cells to divide and leads to higher levels of estrogen in the blood, both of which can encourage cancer.

A study earlier this year suggested that high-carb diets modestly raised the risk of colon cancer. Little research has been done on their effect on breast cancer, and results have been mixed. One study last year found greater risk among young women who ate a lot of sweets, especially sodas and desserts.

For this study, researchers enrolled 475 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer and a comparison group of 1,391 healthy women in Mexico City who were matched for age, weight, childbirth trends and other factors that affect the odds of getting the disease.

Women filled out a lengthy food questionnaire developed by Willett and widely used in nutrition studies, and were divided into four categories based on how much of their total calories came from carbohydrates.

Those in the top category -- who got 62 percent or more of their calories from carbs -- were 2.22 times more likely to have breast cancer than those in the lowest category, whose carb intake was 52 percent or less of their diet.

"The findings do raise concern about the possible adverse effects of eating lots of carbohydrates," especially for people who have diabetes, insulin resistance or are overweight, Willett said.

"It adds to the information that diet's important" with respect to cancer risk, said John Milner, the National Cancer Institute's chief of nutrition.

How applicable the results are to American women is debatable. Carbohydrates make up half of the typical American diet -- less than what most of the women in this study consumed.

"The main carbohydrates these women ate were corn-derived, including tortillas, and soft drinks and bread," said Dr. Eduardo Lazcano-Ponce, one of the Mexican physicians who did the study.

Corn isn't fortified with folate and other nutrients as are many grains, cereals and other sources of carbohydrates eaten in the United States, and those nutrients might help prevent cancer, noted Sandra Schlicker, executive director of the American Society for Clinical Nutrition.

Breast cancer rates in the United States are among the highest in the world. Nearly 132 cases are diagnosed for every 100,000 women. In Mexico, incidence is rising and is currently estimated at 38 cases per 100,000 women. But Willett cautioned that those rates are not adjusted for age differences and that the U.S. population is considerably older than Mexico's and therefore more at risk of cancer.

In the study, women who ate a lot of insoluble fiber -- found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables -- had somewhat less risk of breast cancer. Fiber can modulate the absorption of carbohydrates.

"It leads me to believe that healthier carb sources, or at least diets containing fiber, would be less strongly associated with breast cancer," said Marji McCullough, a senior epidemiologist and nutrition expert at the American Cancer Society.

Experts say more research is needed through a study that, instead of relying on women's memories about what they ate, asks them to keep food diaries and then follows them for years afterward to see which ones develop cancer.

Finding dietary links to breast cancer is important because diet is one of the few risk factors a woman can easily modify.

"This study alone isn't enough for people to make changes in their diet, but it's a cautionary sign," Willett said.

The Institute of Medicine recommends that carbohydrates constitute 45 percent to 65 percent of calories, and that no more than 20 percent should come from added sugars, said Schlicker, who served on the panel that drafted the advice. New dietary guidelines are due to be released next year.
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  #2   ^
Old Thu, Aug-05-04, 23:45
dannysk dannysk is offline
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In the study, women who ate a lot of insoluble fiber -- found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables -- had somewhat less risk of breast cancer. Fiber can modulate the absorption of carbohydrates."

Women who ate a lot of fiber ate fewer "net carbs". As long as science won't make the distinction they are going to wind up with skewed results.

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  #3   ^
Old Fri, Aug-06-04, 07:58
Nancy LC's Avatar
Nancy LC Nancy LC is offline
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Well, this is good news! I wonder how many of our ills will eventually be found to be linked to our high carb lives?
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  #4   ^
Old Fri, Aug-06-04, 08:16
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toofattoo toofattoo is offline
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Yeh, I'd like to know that too. Peg
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  #5   ^
Old Fri, Aug-06-04, 08:25
tofi's Avatar
tofi tofi is offline
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And just to add another "At LAST" someone is getting it.
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  #6   ^
Old Fri, Aug-06-04, 09:56
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Turtle2003 Turtle2003 is offline
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Corn isn't fortified with folate and other nutrients as are many grains, cereals and other sources of carbohydrates eaten in the United States, and those nutrients might help prevent cancer, noted Sandra Schlicker, executive director of the American Society for Clinical Nutrition.

I particularly loved this little comment from one of the 'experts' who recommends we eat huge amounts of carbs. What she is really saying is that the Mexicans don't fortify the carbage they eat with folate and other vitamins like we do, so our carbage is OK to eat. Well, honey, I got news for you. It's still carbage.

I think we will be seeing more and more studies like this. The blinders are off for many scientists, especially those who have not already bet their prestige on the low fat nonsense. And it is now 'safe' for them to publish their results. A few years ago we would never have seen a study like this.
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  #7   ^
Old Fri, Aug-06-04, 18:36
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RoseTattoo RoseTattoo is offline
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I think it's necessary to be skeptical about preliminary studies like this one. The sample was relatively small, and much more damning, the study was based on self-reporting of food intake, a notoriously untrustworthy method. So I think a lot of caution is warranted in drawing conclusions.

BUT--as I understand it, there IS a modest association between breast cancer and folate deficiency. This link has been documented on the basis of several studies, and over time. So why isn't this a plausible explanation of the Mexican findings? On the basis of the food journals, we can see that the Mexican women ate most of their carbs in the form of folate-deficient foods. They apparently also ate these folate-deficient carbs as a far greater proportion of their diet than American women tend to do--and many of Americans' carbs ARE supplemented with folate. The variable, therefore, doesn't seem to be carb intake--it's the intake of folate-deficient carbs.

It's not good science to suggest that ALL carbs are therefore implicated as being associated with breast cancer. What this study showed in a very preliminary way is that SOME carbs--specifically, corn products which lack folate--are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer when eaten as a fairly high proportion of the diet.

Science can't work by drawing generalizations until all variables have been considered. I agree that it's good that carb intake is finally being examined. But we've got to be careful about conclusions we draw.
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  #8   ^
Old Sat, Aug-07-04, 11:52
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Wickedways Wickedways is offline
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Default High carb diet and increase breast cancer risk

Just caught this on Canoe today...

very interesting!

Last edited by Wickedways : Sat, Aug-07-04 at 12:05.
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  #9   ^
Old Sun, Aug-08-04, 01:47
Demi's Avatar
Demi Demi is offline
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Interestingly, have just come across the same story at
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  #10   ^
Old Mon, Aug-09-04, 04:55
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cartmanis cartmanis is offline
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Default Carb-Rich Diet May Increase Risk of Breast Cancer

Just Saw this one this morning,

Carbohydrates have been taking a beating for their putative effect on the waistline in recent years. Now they're coming under fire for potentially putting women at an increased risk of breast cancer.
A study of 1,866 Mexican women has found that those who obtained more than 62 percent of their calories from carbs were more than twice as likely to develop breast cancer compared to women whose carb intake accounted for 52 percent or less of their diet. (The investigators accounted for body mass index and other potentially confounding factors.) "Scientists have long suspected that diet was among the factors contributing to breast cancer," says study co-author Walter Willet of Harvard University. "Now, with studies like ours, we are beginning gradually to understand what elements of diet specifically are associated with the disease, and to grasp the chemical and biological processes that contribute to it at the cellular level."

The new work found a particularly strong link between consumption of sweets and elevated breast cancer risk, whereas ingestion of insoluble fiber was associated with lower risk. In explanation, the researchers note that eating carbs triggers a cascade of events leading to increased secretion of insulin and another protein that can boost cell proliferation and thus lead to cancer. Fiber, on the other hand, may mitigate the effects of carbs by interfering with their absorption.
"This study raises important questions about high carbohydrate diets, particularly among populations or individuals prone to insulin resistance," Willet remarks. "However, one study is not enough to make major changes in diet, and more work on this topic is urgently needed." A report detailing the findings appears in the current issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention. --Kate Wong
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  #11   ^
Old Mon, Aug-09-04, 11:26
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doreen T doreen T is offline
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Breast, ovarian and prostate cancer are closely linked to sugar intake and insulin levels. A Canadian study from 2002, Fasting Insulin and Outcome in Early-Stage Breast Cancer: Results of a Prospective Cohort Study, showed that women with breast cancer who had higher fasting insulin levels had poorer outcomes and lowered survival than those with lower insulin levels. This included increased likelihood of the cancer re-occuring. That's because insulin exerts some growth hormone-like effects and can stimulate proliferation of hormone-sensitive cancer cells.

Some other articles of interest about low-carb, high-fat diet and breast cancer:
previous lowcarber forum discussion about breast cancer and lowcarb

The Skinny on Fats & Breast Cancer by Stephen Byrnes, PhD, N.D.

Three Case Histories from Weston A. Price foundation, where the women improved their cancer survival odds and over-all health by eating a natural diet with plenty of animal fats.


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  #12   ^
Old Thu, Sep-23-04, 12:15
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Gloria27 Gloria27 is offline
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I agree with Rose Tatoo... I'm a carb lover and I'm a Mexican woman and the food I miss the most while on an LC diet is tortillas. I applaud the study and hope it helps some or all of these women with cancer, but most of our delicious meals just don't taste the same without a corn tortilla right off the stove. When I reach my goal, tacos de deshebrada will be my first treat!
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  #13   ^
Old Thu, Sep-23-04, 15:41
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catfishghj catfishghj is offline
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If folate and other nutrients as are many grains, cereals and other sources of carbohydrates eaten in the United States helps prevent cancer, then why are 132 cases diagnosed for every 100,000 women in the US but only 38 cases per 100,000 women in Mexico. Speculation about other nutrients like that is pretty worthless. The study compaired women who had the same source of carbs, just one group ate more than the other. It is a pretty good case of a dose responce relationship.
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  #14   ^
Old Tue, Sep-28-04, 06:20
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ElisaB ElisaB is offline
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Default High-carb diets increase risk of breast cancer

A High-Carbohydrate Diet With Added Sugars Doubles Your Risk of Breast Cancer, Says New Research

A new study carried out by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health reveals a strong correlation between the consumption of refined carbohydrates -- especially refined white sugar -- and increased risk of breast cancer. This is apparently a major "eureka" for these scientists, who are just now beginning to suspect that there are in fact links between diet and cancer.

Of course, this is old news to nutritionists and naturopathic physicians, who have long been urging patients to avoid the consumption of refined carbohydrates and especially refined white sugar. Not only is white sugar known to cause nutritional deficiencies and suppress immune system and brain function, it also promotes both diabetes and obesity. Now we can officially add cancer to that list, thanks to this research.

The fact is, refined white sugar is one of the most unhealthy food ingredients you can put into your body. It causes the depletion of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function properly, and it causes radical swings in blood sugar that affect insulin resistance as well as mood and brain function. It has even been linked to violent behavior and various behavioral disorders, especially in young males. The consumption of sugar is also strongly linked to attention deficit hyperactive disorder, or ADHD.

Of course, Americans love to eat sugar. You can find it in ice cream, cookies, cakes, pancakes, and even things you wouldn't expect to have sugar, such as pasta sauce and pizza sauce. But sugar, it turns out, is one of those ingredients we should all be avoiding if we are to achieve optimum health. I gave up sugar years ago when I kicked the soft drink habit. Since then, I have avoided all refined sugars, and to this day I eat absolutely no refined sugars whatsoever, not even as ingredients in foods. In doing so, I was able to greatly improve my overall health and ultimately lose 50 pounds of excess body fat.

When you consume sugar, you harm your body. You're actually doing your entire system a great disservice. You're impairing the function of your body, your internal organs such as your pancreas, and especially your brain. Sugar simply doesn't belong in the American diet, and if we were to get rid of sugar altogether, or teach people to avoid it, we would all be far healthier, and our national health care costs would plummet.

Of course, Big Sugar and the sugar industry would argue against all of this. They're a lot like the tobacco industry, and they even argue that sugar isn't bad for you and it doesn't cause obesity. In fact, they want to keep exporting sugar to the entire world, so that the rest of the world can share in the high incidence of obesity and chronic disease now experienced in America. It's true -- America is the most obese and chronically diseased country in the world, and we don't seem to be happy until our homegrown businesses are free to export that disease to every other country around the world. That's called "free trade."

Amazingly, we even subsidize sugar in this country in order to make it cheaper. That's an economic incentive that encourages people to buy and eat more sugar (or products made with sugar). It's a great political scandal, of course, that comes down to nothing more than corporate welfare. The sugar industry in the United States is closely allied with the Bush administration to the point where it even helps influence the United States policies on global health and nutrition.

For example, just look into the latest round of dialogue at the World Health Organization, where the United States was firmly against advice offered by the WHO that would have recommended people reduce their consumption of added sugars in order to fight obesity and diabetes around the world. The sugar industry in the United States strongly fought against the passage of those recommendations, arguing that sugar was perfectly good for your health and there was absolutely no evidence linking it to disease.

That's a ridiculous position of course -- there's a tremendous amount of evidence linking disease to sugar, but trying to convince sugar industry executives of that fact is sort of like trying to tell cigarette company CEOs that nicotine is addictive.

If you're going to take sugar out of your diet, I strongly advise that you do it slowly, and you should replace sugar with stevia, a natural sweetener made from the sweetleaf herb that has virtually no calories and won't alter your blood sugar in the same way that sugar does. In fact, stevia is an extremely healthy alternative to sugar that should, in my opinion, be legalized by the FDA and allowed into the food supply. After all, it is safely used around the world (and has been for thousands of years) with no reports of toxicity or negative side effects whatsoever.

Unfortunately, stevia is not yet approved for use in the U.S. food supply, primarily because the FDA is working to once again protect the profits of private industry by making sure that aspartame has a strong market. As a result, many people will switch from sugar to aspartame, and instead of being obese and diabetic they will suffer from the dangerous health side effects related to aspartame such as blindness, migraine headaches and nervous system disorders.

So, I certainly don't recommend consuming aspartame instead of sugar. Go for stevia instead. And once again, transition slowly. If you've been consuming a diet very high in sugar, as most Americans have, you won't have any success at all if you try to quit sugar cold turkey. You have to slowly transition off of sugar, week by week, month by month, until you are completely rid of it. In fact, a one-year plan for getting off of sugar is quite reasonable.

If you currently drink soft drinks, it is imperative that you give up soft drinks first, because this is one of the worst sources of added sugars in the American diet. To do this, check out my book called "The Five Soft Drink Monsters," available free of charge at the Consumer Wellness Research Center.

After you have eliminated soft drinks from your diet, you can tackle other areas of added sugars in your diet. These include candy bars, granola bars, energy bars, and various drinks. Of course, they also include desserts, muffins, cakes, cookies, and other pastries. You actually have to look for sugar in the ingredients labels of popular foods, otherwise you won't even realize they're in there. You'll find sugar in pancake mixes, for example, which is why I think most pancakes are just cake for breakfast. Also you need to realize that you can't just look for the word "sugar" on the ingredient labels on foods. You must also look for terms like sucrose and maltodextrin.

Another form of sugar is fructose, which is frequently found in soy protein supplements and body building supplements. Fructose is somewhat better for you than sucrose, but fructose is still a refined sugar, and should be avoided by people seeking optimum health. Again, it all comes back to the right choice for sweeteners, and that choice is stevia.

The bottom line is that the research is now showing sugar to be correlated with breast cancer. This is certainly no surprise to holistic nutritionists and those who have followed wellness and health for some time. It may be news to researchers and physicians, but that's only because they tend to remain ignorant about the nutritional relationships between foods and health.
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  #15   ^
Old Wed, Sep-29-04, 00:35
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fatburner fatburner is offline
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Originally Posted by ElisaB
A High-Carbohydrate Diet With Added Sugars Doubles Your Risk of Breast Cancer, Says New Research

Again, it all comes back to the right choice for sweeteners, and that choice is stevia.

The bottom line is that the research is now showing sugar to be correlated with breast cancer. This is certainly no surprise to holistic nutritionists and those who have followed wellness and health for some time. It may be news to researchers and physicians, but that's only because they tend to remain ignorant about the nutritional relationships between foods and health.

This is a bit off the carbs/breast cancer topic. Sorry, I thought it deserved a comment. For the record I'm in the 'carbs are implicated in all cancers, not just of the breast' camp.

Anyway, I'm still not convinced that stevia is as safe as sucralose. Sure it's natural, but so is aflatoxin. Comfrey is a perfect example of a natural supplement that has been used traditionally for probably as long as stevia and it is only recently that it has been recognized as a potent carcinogen. And stevia's insulin spiking effect gives me the willies. I have read a lot of anecdotal stuff about mood side effects from sucralose, so maybe some people are sensitive to it. I've eaten it liberally for over two years and I think if I was any healthier or happier I'd be dangerous. But who knows, maybe that's just down to ditching the carbs . Of course even Stevia is streets ahead of any carbohydrate containing sweetener, so I'd be the first to keep things in perspective. But I can't stand even the taste of stevia, wether or not it is safe. And I did try to get to like it! I was saved when I learnt of it's insulin dark side

Last edited by fatburner : Wed, Sep-29-04 at 01:17.
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