After assessing the impact of carbohydrates, fructose (a type of sugar) and glycemic loads and indexes on colon cancer development, Meyerhardt's team concluded that there was a cancer connection with carbohydrates and glycemic load.
An accompanying journal editorial by Dr. Neal Meropol and Dr. Nathan Berger -- both from the division of hematology and oncology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland -- pointed out that Meyerhardt's findings are in line with the well-known notion that cancer cells are actually avid sugar consumers.
However, Lona Sandon, a registered dietician and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, cautioned against reading too much into the new study findings.
"One of the most important things about this study is that it is an observational study," Sandon said. "It does not prove cause and effect -- only a relationship."
"We cannot make dietary recommendations based on this study alone," she added. "And it is insufficient to change [dietary] recommendations that already exist; that is, to maintain a healthy weight, increase physical activity and choose a healthy diet with limited excess sugars."
For more on colon cancer, visit the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
-- Alan Mozes
SOURCES: Lona Sandon, M.Ed., R.D., assistant professor, clinical nutrition, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas; Journal of the National Cancer Institute, news release, Nov. 7, 2012
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