Dietary carbohydrate, glycemic index, and glycemic load and the risk of colorectal cancer in the BCDDP cohort
There is considerable support for associations between insulin and IGF-I levels and colorectal cancer. Diet may relate to colorectal cancer through this mechanism, for example, diets high in glycemic index, glycemic load and/or carbohydrate are hypothesized to increase insulin load and the risk of insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia. Case-control studies support this hypothesis, but prospective cohorts have had mixed results. In the Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project (BCDDP) follow-up cohort of 45,561 women, we used Cox proportional hazards regression to assess the distribution of 490 incident cases of colorectal cancer ascertained during 8.5 years of follow-up across quintiles of carbohydrate intake, glycemic index, and glycemic load. We also stratified by combined BMI and physical activity levels. We found reductions in colorectal cancer risk for diets high in carbohydrate (RR for Q5 vs. Q1 = 0.70, 95% CI: 0.50-0.97) and glycemic index (0.75, 95% CI: 0.56-1.00), and no significant association for glycemic load (0.91, 95% CI: 0.70-1.20). Inverse associations were weakest in normal weight active persons. The inverse association for glycemic index was strongest for the portion from dairy food. These results do not support an association between diets high in carbohydrate, glycemic index or glycemic load and colorectal cancer.