Refined Carbohydrates: Not Paleo and Linked to Cancer

Whenever  a client or friend says something to me like, “I can’t eat red meat; I have a history of cancer in my family and my doc says to avoid it” or “Oh, I can’t go Paleo because there is high cholesterol in my family and my physician made it clear that I need to eat a lot of whole grains to avoid future problems”, it’s all I can do to not stomp my feet in exasperation!

It’s completely the wrong message that docs like that, along with many other ‘specialists’ or ‘experts’ in the field of not just health, but also medicine are putting out there for us en masse.

The reality is that eating grains and refined carbohydrates, combined with other great inventions that we humans have come up with (like synthetic food that we should not actually be putting in our bodies) are ‘bad for you’ and can certainly set the stage for higher risk of certain illnesses and diseases, including some cancers and high cholesterol.

I just read yet another great article on the subject, this one by Dr. Al Sears, MD; below are a few key points: 

  1. Sugar feeds cancer cell and makes them grow like wildfire. Cancer loves sugar, and carbs turn into sugar in your body.
  2. A 2004 study in Cancer Epidemiology followed the eating habits of a large group of women in Mexico. The risk of breast cancer was found to be 220% higher in the women who ate the largest amounts of carbohydrates compared to the women who ate the least carbs.
  3. Researchers in Stockholm analyzed data from women who completed “food frequency” questionnaires in the late 1980s. They discovered that women who ate high glycemic load foods were more likely to develop breast cancer. They also found that carbohydrate intake, glycemic index and glycemic load were all associated with a specific estrogen receptor type of tumor.
  4. It’s not just women who need to be concerned. There have also been links to carbohydrate consumption, especially high glycemic load foods, and colorectal cancer among men.
  5. The evidence that refined, processed, high glycemic foods are bad for you is overwhelming. And when it comes to cancer, sugar is the worst.
  6. So when you go to the store, make sure to pass up on the sugar and avoid: 
  • all grains, including corn, 
  • potatoes and other white foods, like white rice, sugar and salt
  • processed foods
  • drinks and foods that contain high fructose corn syrup

How nice that by simply eating Paleo foods and living the Paleo Lifestyle, all of the above non foods are avoided by default!

Regardless of your motives for giving Paleo a try, once you’re living it, and experience how fantastic you feel, there’s no reason to go back.  The one thing we all have in common is that we are all human, and are all meant to be eating the same things- FOOD- and not to be eating things that are not food.

Listen to your body, do your own research and don’t settle for advice (or prescriptions) that don’t make sense.  

Rule of thumb, and this is not just for those who are seeing their docs for cancer prevention, if any doc or healthcare practitioner you see for any illness or malady does NOT ask you what you are eating, consider that a red flag and find yourself another MD!  

To not look at one’s diet as part of the overall picture of one’s health is as broken and incomplete as not checking to see if your car has gas in it as a reason for it not starting.  Yes, it is that obvious and that important, yet all too often overlooked as though it were a superfluous detail. As if!