Factors linked to glucose metabolism are involved in the etiology of several cancers. High glycemic index (GI) or high glycemic load (GL) diets, which chronically raise postprandial blood glucose, may increase cancer risk by affecting insulin-like growth factor. We prospectively investigated cancer risk and dietary GI/GL in the EPIC-Italy cohort. After a median 14.9 years, 5112 incident cancers and 2460 deaths were identified among 45,148 recruited adults. High GI was associated with increased risk of colon and bladder cancer. High GL was associated with: increased risk of colon cancer; increased risk of diabetes-related cancers; and decreased risk of rectal cancer. High intake of carbohydrate from high GI foods was significantly associated with increased risk of colon and diabetes-related cancers, but decreased risk of stomach cancer; whereas high intake of carbohydrates from low GI foods was associated with reduced colon cancer risk. In a Mediterranean population with high and varied carbohydrate intake, carbohydrates that strongly raise postprandial blood glucose may increase colon and bladder cancer risk, while the quantity of carbohydrate consumed may be involved in diabetes-related cancers. Further studies are needed to confirm the opposing effects of high dietary GL on risks of colon and rectal cancers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas