Oh, Come On! THIS Can Cause Cancer?

Eating a lot of bread can place you at a far higher risk for developing kidney cancer, according to research from the Institute of Pharmacological Research in Milan, Italy.

The BBC News reports that this study of 2,300 people also showed that pasta and rice moderately raise the risk, while eating raw or cooked vegetables, poultry and processed meat reduced it. Coffee, tea, eggs, red meat, fish, cheese, potatoes and fruit appeared to have no effect.

This is the first time such a claim has been made about bread. The researchers recruited 767 adults who had kidney cancer and then matched each of them with two control patients who did not have the disease. In an attempt to figure out which foods increased the risk of renal cell carcinoma, the team researched in great detail each participant's personal and family medical history, lifestyle and diet over the previous two years. They found a common factor: Those who ate the most bread had the highest risk of kidney cancer, while pasta and rice only somewhat increased the risk.

How can bread, pasta and rice cause cancer? The Italian researchers suggest that the high glycemic index of the three foods could be the contributing factor. Foods with a high GI index raise blood sugar levels dramatically, which may feed the growth of tumors--although doctors aren't sure how.

Meanwhile, cancer experts in the United Kingdom warned people not to be alarmed, especially since the study involved patients who had to remember what they ate over the past two years instead of recording a daily log, something that could have led to inaccuracies. "So we will need more evidence from much larger studies before we can say if this link is real," Ed Yong of Cancer Research UK told the BBC News. "At the moment, the only well-established avoidable causes of kidney cancer are being overweight or obese, which accounts for one in four cases, and smoking, which accounts for one in five cases."

The study findings were published in the International Journal of Cancer.

--From the Editors at Netscape

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