The drawback of eating starch

By Ines Morales - 10 Dec 2011 20:2:0 GMT
The drawback of eating starch

Breast cancer via Shutterstock

I know more than a few women who have survived breast cancer - for at least one of them it took a mastectomy to save her life, and I know that ever since the ghost of breast cancer recurrence has hung over them. Unfortunately, at present there's just no good way to predict a repeat performance, or even evaluate its likelihood.

So many different factors go into the development of breast cancer: physiological changes; environmental factors; genetic predisposition. The same mix of potential causes can be faulted for the recurrence of this disease.

In response to this problem, medical researchers have spent a great deal of time and effort trying to figure out the risk factors for breast cancer recurrence. A recent such study looked at the relationship between certain dietary choices and the frequency of breast cancer reappearance.

(This is not a new idea - most forms of traditional medicine consider food an essential part of healing and illness prevention; but it's only in relatively recent times that Western medicine has started taking a serious look at the concept.) The researchers presented their findings in the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium of early December, 2011.

According to them, lower-grade breast cancer is more likely to recur in women who increase their consumption of starch than in women who reduce it.

In a practical sense, of course, limiting your intake of starch might prove difficult, considering that starch is the most common carbohydrate in the human diet. Almost every staple food we consume - potatoes, rice, corn, wheat - is rich in this substance.

Are you in the habit of eating oats for breakfast? Starch! Do you like sweet potatoes? They contain plenty of starch. So do many kinds of beans. The same goes for bananas, acorns, chestnuts, and a large assortment of other foods widely exploited in ethnic cuisines worldwide. Not to mention barley, a basic ingredient in the brewing of beer.

It's not a simple matter, then - coming up with a diet that decreases starch consumption to any significant degree, remains nutritious, and does not force us to give up too much, all at the same time. Moderation and diversity are of course two basic keywords, but there's probably other things we could try.

More research needs to be done on the subject, and dietary specialists must do some careful thinking in order to put together some suitable recommendations. Given the high rate of breast cancer incidence among women worldwide, I hope they're getting right on it. In the meantime, for those of us who like to be proactive, why don't we start searching for some alternatives on our own?

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Topics: Cancer