Dr. Niyati Parekh, director of the global public health doctoral program at New York University College of Global Public Health recently published Carbohydrate nutrition and risk of adiposity-related cancers: results from the Framingham Offspring cohort (1991-2013) in the British Journal of Nutrition. This prospective cohort study investigates carbohydrate quantity and quality in relation to risk of adiposity-related cancers, which represent the most commonly diagnosed preventable cancers in the U.S.
The study sample consisted of 3184 adults from the Framingham Offspring cohort. Dietary data were collected
1991 – 1995 using a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) along with lifestyle and medical information. From 1991 to 2013, 565 incident adiposity-related cancers, including 124 breast, 157 prostate and sixty-eight colorectal cancers, were identified. Cox proportional hazards models were used to evaluate the role of carbohydrate nutrition in cancer risk. Glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) were not associated with risk of adiposity-related cancers or any of the site-specific cancers. Total carbohydrate intake was not associated with risk of adiposity-related cancers combined or prostate and colorectal cancers. However, carbohydrate consumption in the highest v. lowest quintile was associated with 41 percent lower breast cancer risk (hazard ratio (HR) 0·59; 95 percent confidence interval (CI) 0·36, 0·97). High-, medium- and low-GI foods were not associated with risk of adiposity-related cancers or prostate and colorectal cancers. In exploratory analyses, low-GI foods, were associated with 49 percent lower breast cancer risk (HR 0·51; 95 percent CI 0·32, 0·83). In this cohort of Caucasian American adults, associations between carbohydrate nutrition and cancer varied by cancer site. Healthier low-GI carbohydrate foods may prevent adiposity-related cancers among women, but these findings require confirmation in a larger sample.