We know that eating right means less processed food and limiting how much white bread and potatoes we enjoy. But according to new research, avoiding those high-glycemic foods it’s way more important than we thought. A recent study found that eating foods like white bread, plain bagels or corn flakes could actually increase your risk of developing lung cancer – even if you don’t smoke!
Scientists found that eating a diet with a high glycemic index – which is a measure of how fast carbs raise blood sugar levels – was linked to a higher risk of getting lung cancer. And we’re not talking a small risk either. People were at a 49% greater risk of having lung cancer from eating a high glycemic diet compared to a diet rich in low-glycemic foods. Sadly, the found it was bad for people who were never even smokers.
Of course, it sounds crazy that eating too much white bread can increase your risk of lung cancer, especially if you’ve never had a cigarette, but registered dietitian nutritionist Beth Warren says it makes sense. “Eating foods with a high glycemic index promote chronic inflammation in the body,” she explains. “Chronic inflammation is connected most diseases including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s.”
The good news is that it’s really easy to make the switch to healthier low glycemic options and avoid all those foods that cause the damage. So instead of white bread and potatoes, try brown rice, sweet potatoes and whole grain breads. Quinoa and high fiber starchy vegetables, like lentils and beans are good options as well. And don’t forget about oatmeal. Fruit is one of the exceptions to the rule, since it’s high glycemic but it also has lots of fiber, antioxidants and other healthy stuff that keeps it on the safe list.
So remember this when you’re reaching for the baked goods in the office break room. Grabbing a banana instead of a cupcake can change more than your waistline.