You may want to reconsider drinking that soda. According to a new study conducted by the American Society for Nutrition, those consuming large quantities of processed carbohydrates and sugary drinks may face an increased risk of breast and prostate cancers. Given that breast and prostate cancers are two of the most common cancers in the United States, the connection gives more of a reason for people to cut processed foods from their diets.
Researchers followed the dietary habits of 3,200 U.S. adults over the course of the 20 year study. At that time, 565 individuals had been diagnosed with cancer. The results demonstrated that women who consumed healthy carbs such as fruits and whole grains were about 67 percent less likely to have breast cancer, compared to women who consumed refined carbohydrates such as white bread and baked goods.
When it came to prostate cancer risk, the findings showed that men who regularly drank sugary drinks were more than three times as likely to develop the disease versus men who avoided those drinks.
Sugary drinks weren’t the only dietary factor that mattered, though, according to the researchers. Prostate cancer risk was also heightened among men whose diets were generally high in “glycemic load” — which basically means they consumed a lot of refined carbs. The study also implicated “processed lunch foods,” including pizza, deli meats and burgers. Men who ate those foods four or more times per week were twice as likely to develop prostate cancer, compared to men who had them no more than once a week, the researchers found.
Ultimately however, it’s hard to know whether certain foods, contribute to breast or prostate cancers — or whether, it is the overall calorie intake and weight gain that are the true culprits. Although further studies are required to find conclusive evidence of this link, the bottom line is that whole, “high-quality” foods are a generally healthier choice than processed ones.