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Added sugar, glycemic index and load in colon cancer risk

Galeone, Carlottaa,b; Pelucchi, Claudioa; Vecchia, Carlo Laa,b

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care: July 2012 - Volume 15 - Issue 4 - p 368–373
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e3283539f81
CARBOHYDRATES: Edited by Luc Tappy and Bettina Mittendorfer

Purpose of review There is a growing body of in-vivo evidences that sucrose-rich diets cause mutations in the rat colon epithelium, with several biological mechanism hypothesized, but epidemiological studies have yielded conflicting results. In order to provide a quantification of the magnitude of the risk of colon cancer for high intake of added sugar, high dietary glycemic index and glycemic load, we performed a meta-analysis based on a systematic review of the literature to date.

Recent findings Recent epidemiological data indicate a lack of association between high intake of added sugar, high-glycemic index and glycemic load diets and risk of colon cancer.

Summary There is no consistent evidence from epidemiological studies, although a modest excess risk emerged in case–control studies, that added sugars, dietary glycemic index and glycemic load are associated with increased risk of colon cancer, independently from their effect on energy intake, overweight, obesity and diabetes, which are related to excess colon cancer risk.

aDepartment of Epidemiology, ‘Mario Negri’ Institute for Pharmacological Research

bDepartment of Occupational Health, ‘Clinica del Lavoro Luigi Devoto’, University of Milan, Milan, Italy

Correspondence to Professor Carlo La Vecchia, Dipartimento di Epidemiologia, Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche ‘Mario Negri’, Via Giuseppe La Masa 19, 20156 Milan, Italy. Tel: +39 02 3901 4527; fax: +39 02 3320 0231; e-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.