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LMU 100 – Unveiling the Sweet Connection: High Glycemic Diets and Colorectal Cancer Risk


LMU 100 – Unveiling the Sweet Connection: High Glycemic Diets and Colorectal Cancer Risk

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (August 2018)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (August 17, 2018)


The intricate tapestry of health is woven from an intricate interplay of factors, a dance between choices and consequences. In this intricate choreography, a significant study emerged in August 2018, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This study unfurled a narrative of paramount importance, connecting the dots between dietary habits, insulin response, and the risk of a menacing adversary: colorectal cancer. By merging the threads of two landmark studies—the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and the Nurses’ Health Study—this research cast light on a pressing concern: the glycemic potential of diets and their insidious link to the realm of colorectal cancer.

Unravelling the Threads: The Study’s Genesis

Stepping onto the stage of scientific exploration, the study showcased a pioneering blend of data. Fuelled by the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study’s expansive journey into the lives of over 46,000 male health practitioners and the Nurses’ Health Study’s dedicated pursuit of over 74,000 female nurses, the canvas stretched over decades. The tapestry of inquiry spanned from 1984 to 2012, an intricate narrative encompassing the dietary rhythms and health trajectories of these dedicated individuals.

Glycemic Potential: A Glimpse into Colorectal Cancer Risk

As the narrative unfolded, the crux of the investigation emerged—the glycemic nature of the diets embraced by these health warriors. The Empirical Dietary Index for Hyperinsulinemia (EDIH), a gauge of glycemic response, took center stage. This index cast its gaze upon the potential for blood sugar elevation and insulin secretion provoked by each individual’s dietary choices. The correlation between these glycemic footprints and the spectre of colorectal cancer was poised for revelation.

The Resounding Echo: Diet’s Role in Colorectal Cancer Risk

As the findings were laid bare, a crescendo reverberated—an unmistakable link between high glycemic diets and colorectal cancer risk. The male participants bearing the weight of high glycemic diets stood before a 33% heightened risk of colon cancer, a striking contrast to their counterparts who adhered to the sanctuary of low glycemic dietary patterns. Women too shared this sombre fate, as those consuming high glycemic diets faced a 22% amplified risk of colon cancer compared to their low glycemic adherents. The tale these statistics wove was not unfamiliar—previous chapters of research had already etched the correlation between sugary and starchy diets, surging blood sugars, insulin overdrive, and the spectre of colorectal cancer.

The Unveiling of Insulin’s Dual Role: A Mediator of Risk

As the curtains of insight drew back, a dual role of insulin emerged—one of promoting rapid cell division in the lining of the colon and rectum. A perilous dance ensued, the cells of the gastrointestinal tract thrust into a frenetic rhythm. More rapid cell division paved the path for genetic mutations to flourish, setting the stage for the ominous transformation into cancerous entities. As the researchers illuminated this intricate choreography, they underscored the pivotal role of insulin in influencing the march towards colorectal cancer.

Crafting a Prelude to Prevention: The Holistic Wellness Ensemble

Amidst the tapestry of findings, a refrain emerged—a clarion call for prevention, an arsenal of strategies designed to disarm the threat of colorectal cancer. Assembling a symphony of wellness, the clarion call bore the promise of significant reduction in risk. The list of strategies unveiled a roadmap—a roadmap to resilience:

  1. Reducing high-fat animal products, trans-fats, deep-fried foods, and processed meats.
  2. Incorporating calcium-rich foods or supplements.
  3. Sustaining optimal vitamin D levels.
  4. Ensuring sufficient B-vitamin, folic acid intake.
  5. Moderating or eliminating alcohol consumption.
  6. Avoiding smoked, charred, or high-temperature-cooked meats.
  7. Steering clear of nitrates and nitrites in preserved foods.
  8. Embracing dietary fiber.
  9. Maintaining an ideal body weight.
  10. Engaging in regular physical exercise.
  11. Abandoning the smoking habit.

The Symphony of Lifelines: A Vibrant Conclusion

In the grand finale of this intricate dance, the researchers’ voices harmonized—a symphony of lifelines resonated. This comprehensive ensemble, a chorus of nutritional wisdom and lifestyle resilience, heralded a path to optimized longevity—a roadmap illuminated by reduced risk of colon cancer and a myriad of degenerative diseases. As the curtain fell on this chapter, the researchers’ parting words echoed—a resounding call for vigilance, for colo-rectal cancer’s mantle as the second leading cause of cancer death necessitates a profound embrace of prevention. In a world where choices echo through the corridors of health, this study stands as a sentinel, guiding the way to a future where the risk of colon cancer is written into the sands of history.


  1. Tabung F, Wang, W, Fung, T, et al. (2018). Association of dietary insulinemic potential and colorectal cancer risk in men and women. Am J Clin Nutri. [Link] (
  2. C-peptide as a Marker of Insulinemic Response to Diet. [Link] (
  3. Assessing Insulin Response. [Link] (

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino


Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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