A new study confirms how important it is to limit the dietary intake of sugar so as not to stimulate cancer

I’m scheduled to give a talk tonight at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, but I’m writing this to alert you to a new report by another New York hospital, the Department of Epidemiology of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, working as part of the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study of 93,676 women. The report confirms the link between a high level of insulin – which indicates the level of sugar in the blood, and the risk of breast cancer.

In this massive study, the risk of breast cancer in menopausal women who were not undergoing hormonal treatment (which is now contra-indicated in the United States and Europe, except in cases of specific menopausal symptoms that are difficult to manage in other ways) was 2.4 (140 percent increase in risk), while the risk associated with hormonal treatment was lower, at about 2.0 (100 percent increase in risk). The authors conclude that the link between obesity and breast cancer in menopausal women is probably entirely due to higher levels of insulin and estrogen hormones in women who are significantly overweight (Body Mass Index > 30).

This confirms one of the main conclusions featured in my book Anticancer: A New Way of Life, the important role of a diet excessively rich in sugar (“high glycemic index”) in the appearance of certain cancers. It once again underscores how important it is to communicate to patients who have already developed cancer that it is vital that they adopt a low glycemic-index diet, in order to reduce their levels of blood-sugar (“glycemia”), and thus diminish the secretion of insulin and its malignant influence on the growth of cancer cells.

Low-glycemic-index diets – like the Mediterranean diet, which many of us have found so easy to adopt – have already demonstrated their favorable effects on every other parameter of health: cardiovascular disease, dementia, and inflammatory diseases. So let’s get cooking!

1. Gunter MJ, al e. Insulin, Insulin-Like Growth Factor-I, and Risk of Breast Cancer in Postmenopausal Women. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2009;101:48-60