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Processed foods

Eating diet of processed foods proven to raise cancer risk in women

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: processed foods, blood sugar, cancer risk

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(NewsTarget) Elevated blood sugar can increase women's risk of pancreatic, skin, urinary tract, womb and breast cancer, according to a Swedish study published in the journal Diabetes Care.

The link between a diet high in junk food and high levels of blood sugar has been solidly established, as has the fact that elevated blood sugar can lead to Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, sometimes called adult onset diabetes, occurs when the body becomes desensitized to the sugar-regulating hormone insulin, and has been shown to lead to increased cancer risk. However, the Swedish study demonstrated a correlation between blood sugar levels and cancer risk, independent of the occurrence of diabetes.

Researchers studied nearly 65,000 adults between the ages of 40 and 60 for 13 years. They found that the 25 percent of women with the highest blood sugar had a 26 percent higher chance of developing cancer than the 25 percent with the lowest blood sugar levels. Breast cancer risk in particular was increased only among pre-menopausal women. Blood sugar levels did not correlate with cancer risk in men.

While it is impossible to conclude from the study whether elevated blood sugar actually causes cancer, the researchers did adjust for body mass index (another risk factor) and found that the correlation still held up.

Dr. Greg Martin, science and research manager for the UK branch of the World Cancer Research Fund -- which sponsored the study -- said it is very easy to reduce blood sugar levels with a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables, and by maintaining a healthy body weight.

"We know that up to 40 percent of cancer cases can be prevented by this type of healthy lifestyle, so this is just another reason for people to make those small changes that could make a big difference," Martin said.
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