Scientists from Osaka University and elsewhere found that a low-carb diet could increase overall cancer risk.
It has been estimated that 30–40 percent of all cancers can be prevented by lifestyle and dietary measures alone.
Obesity, nutrient sparse foods such as concentrated sugars and refined flour products that contribute to impaired glucose metabolism (which leads to diabetes), low fiber intake, consumption of red meat, and imbalance of omega 3 and omega 6 fats all contribute to excess cancer risk.
A low-carb diet focuses on proteins and some nonstarchy vegetables. The diet generally limits grains, legumes, fruits, bread, sweets, pasta and starchy vegetables, and sometimes nuts and seeds.
Some low-carb diet plans allow small amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Research evidence on the effects of a low-carb diet on cancer risk remains unclear. In the current study, researchers aimed to solve the problem.
They examined the association between a low-carb diet and the risk of overall and specific cancer risks in a Japanese population. More than 90,000 people aged 45-74 were included in the study.
The team found that a higher low-carb diet score was linked to increased overall cancer risk, while it was associated with decreased gastric cancer risk.
Further analysis showed that a higher animal-based low-carb diet score was linked to a higher risk of overall cancer, colorectal cancer, rectal cancer, lung cancer, and a lower risk of gastric cancer.
Furthermore, the team found that a plant-based low-carb diet score was related to lower gastric cancer risk.
Additionally, the team found adjusted for plant fat intake increased the associations with higher cancer risks.
Based on the findings, the team concludes that a low-carb diet enriched with animal products is linked to increased overall cancer, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer incidence.
These unhealthy associations could be reduced by plant fat consumption. A low-carb diet reduces the risk of developing gastric cancer.
The team suggests that long-term adherence to a low-carb diet without paying attention to the balance between animal and plant food source consumption might increase cancer risks.
The research was published in Cancer Science and conducted by Honglin Cai et al.
If you care about cancer, please read studies that artificial sweeteners are linked to higher cancer risk, and how drinking milk affects risks of heart disease and cancer.
For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease, and results showing vitamin D supplements strongly reduces cancer death.
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