The proof is in: These foods feed cancer

If your daily diet includes soft drinks, fast food, processed lunch meats, candy and white bread you are welcoming cancer into your body with open arms. And a recent study confirms it.

Researchers at New York University looked at the health records of 3,100 volunteers going back as far as the early 1970s to see how their diet affected their chances of getting cancer.

As part of their research, they examined detailed food frequency questionnaires that volunteers began taking in 1991 and found that those who ate more foods with a high glycemic load and high glycemic index were more likely to get cancer.

Unless you have diabetes or have jumped on the glycemic-index diet bandwagon to lose weight, you probably don’t know exactly what a glycemic load or glycemic index is, let alone whether the foods you’re eating qualify as “high,” so here’s a quick explanation…

Glycemic load is a measurement of the amount of carbohydrates in a serving of food and, consequently, how much that food will cause your blood sugar to spike. Glycemic index is a measurement of how quickly a certain food is digested and converted to sugar in your bloodstream.

As you can imagine, foods that are loaded with sugar or enriched white flour are pretty high on the glycemic load and glycemic index scales. Potatoes, white rice and even some fruits rank pretty high as well.

The results of the study specifically show that eating foods with a high glycemic load is linked to an 88 percent increase in prostate cancer. Those who drank sugary beverages like soft drinks and fruit juice and ate processed lunch foods had an especially pronounced cancer risk.

“Our study showed very strong associations between certain foods and cancer, in particular with prostate cancer,” said Nour Makarem, a Ph.D. student at New York University and the study’s lead author. “There had not been very many studies on food sources and prostate cancer previously.”

But when it comes to carbs, it’s important to remember that it is the highly-processed carbs that are linked to cancer — not all carbs. Because, as it turns out, healthy carbs can actually help protect your body from cancer.

The study also found that eating carbs with a low glycemic index (like legumes, non-starchy vegetables, most fruits and whole grains) resulted in a 67 percent lower risk for breast cancer.

Legumes like beans, lentils and peas especially stood out for their anti-cancer properties. Legume-lovers were 32 percent less likely to get one of the cancers that are typically associated with being overweight, such as breast, prostate and colorectal cancers.

Of all the reasons to avoid highly-processed carbs, I’d say their link to cancer is the best one yet. The study makes it clear that not all carbs are laying down a welcome mat for cancer in your body, it’s just a matter of choosing your carbs wisely.

But even the most careful health nut may find it impossible to eat all the right foods all the time — and avoid all the bad ones too. That’s where cancer-fighting supplements can help.

According to Dr. Michael Cutler, author of Surviving Cancer, there are 10 cancer-fighting nutrients you can supplement with if you have any doubts about your diet keeping you cancer free, including resveratrol and omega-3 fatty acids. To learn more click here — and get your copy of his ultimate cancer guide, plus three free reports.

Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and