Could preventing breast cancer be as simple as cutting out carbs and sweets? Yes. That really is one way to decrease your risk of acquiring this vicious disease.

As you know from reading ETR, eating carbohydrates and simple sugars causes a spike in blood sugar. The constant elevation of blood sugar can, and often does, end in insulin resistance. And when that happens, your body loses the ability to utilize the calories from the carbohydrates you eat.

It’s a cumulative effect: You eat carbs, your insulin levels rise but become less efficient at getting glucose into your cells to be used for fuel, and your body begins to store excess fat. This combination of elevated blood sugar, insulin, and increased fat tissue causes inflammation, which goes on to damage tissues in your body (e.g., the inside of your arteries). It is also connected to the production of a substance called insulin-like growth factor (IGF).

You probably know that insulin resistance leads to diabetes, heart disease, and strokes. But you may not realize how strongly insulin resistance and diabetes are linked to cancer.

A 2005 Italian study on the subject, published in the British Medical Journal, somehow escaped making headlines. The study looked at roughly 5,000 women. After adjusting for their health history and lifestyle factors and comparing those with and without diagnosed breast cancer, the researchers found that the women who consumed the most high-carb/high-sugar foods (like biscuits, pastries, and ice cream, as well as chocolate and simple sugars, including honey, jams, and jellies) had a significantly increased risk for breast cancer.

The researchers attributed their elevated risk to IGF. However, other studies – including one just published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute – are suggesting that insulin itself may be a bigger culprit.

So the message is pretty clear: Eating too many sweets and having elevated insulin levels raises the risk for breast cancer. Will you listen?

At LaValle Medical Institute, we educate our patients on the dangers of eating too many high-carb foods and sugars. We encourage them to focus, instead, on eating a high-fiber diet rich in non-starchy vegetables, organic animal proteins, fish, beans, nuts/seeds, and other healthy fats. Keep sugars under tight control, and gauge your intake of healthier carbs (like brown rice and fruit) by your blood sugar and insulin levels and your weight.

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