Link Between Poor Diet and Increased Cancer Risk Unveiled by Scientists

by Ella

A review published in the March 2024 issue of Current Problems in Cardiology sheds light on the connection between dietary habits and cancer risk, highlighting concerns regarding the ketogenic (keto) diet’s impact on heart health.

Dietary choices play a pivotal role in various health conditions, including obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancers such as those affecting the breast, uterus, and large intestine. While excessive intake of sodium, saturated fats, and sugars has been linked to chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes, the specific mechanisms linking diet to cancer remain less understood.


The review underscores the absence of conclusive evidence demonstrating direct causality between dietary components and cancer risk, as reported by the National Cancer Institute. However, a recent study conducted by the National University of Singapore, published in Cell, offers new insights into the potential mechanisms underlying the association between poor diet and cancer development.


Researchers discovered that methylglyoxal, a by-product of glucose metabolism, may play a pivotal role in increasing cancer risk. In cell studies, methylglyoxal was found to inhibit genes responsible for tumor suppression, particularly in individuals with a genetic predisposition to breast and ovarian cancers due to the BRCA2 mutation.


High levels of methylglyoxal, commonly observed in individuals with prediabetes, diabetes, or obesity, can lead to DNA damage, contributing to the early stages of cancer development. Notably, diets rich in sugars or refined carbohydrates can elevate methylglyoxal levels, exacerbating the risk of cancer.


While the study provides valuable insights into the potential mechanisms linking diet to cancer risk, further research is warranted to validate these findings in clinical settings. Moreover, healthcare professionals emphasize the importance of adopting a balanced, plant-forward diet rich in dietary fiber and bioactive compounds to mitigate cancer risk and promote overall health.

Evidence suggests that adhering to a Mediterranean diet may help reduce methylglyoxal levels in the bloodstream, offering potential benefits for individuals with type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease. As research continues to elucidate the intricate relationship between diet and cancer risk, maintaining a healthy dietary pattern remains paramount in disease prevention and management.



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