1 October 2011

GI Symbol News with Dr Alan Barclay

Dr Alan Barclay

Reducing your risk of breast cancer through a healthy lifestyle
In Australia and the US, breast cancer accounts for around 1 in 4 cases of all cancers, and the number of cases has more than doubled over the past 25 years.

There are a large number of risk factors for breast cancer that you can’t do anything about such as your genes and family background, the number of children you have, your age at when your first child is born, and your age at menarche and menopause. However, there are also a number of risk factors related to your diet and lifestyle that you can do something about.

The main risk increasers include the usual suspects.

  • Excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing breast cancer. The risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed. Women who drink 2 or more standard drinks a day have about a 21% increased risk of developing breast cancer compared to those who do not drink at all.
  • High fat diets have been found to increase the risk of developing breast cancer by 10–15%, and high processed meat consumption (e.g. more than 3 serves a week) has been found to increase the risk by 8%.
  • Being overweight or obese has been found to increase breast cancer risk in women by 9% after menopause.
A recently published systematic review and meta-analysis has added another to the risk increaser list, finding that a high GI diet may increase the risk of breast cancer by 8% when a high (GI 60 or more) diet compared to a low GI diet (GI 45 or less) is consumed for 5 years or more.

Three key risk reducers are regular exercise, eating plenty of dairy foods and enjoying an all-round healthy, balanced diet.
  • Regular exercise reduces the risk of breast cancer by up to 25%. The American Cancer Society recommends 45–60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on 5 or more days a week to help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Consuming plenty of dairy foods (that’s more than 2–3 serves a day) has been found to decrease the risk of developing breast cancer by 15%, most likely due to their high calcium content.
  • Eating an all round healthy diet has been shown to decrease the risk of developing breast cancer by 11%. This analysis did not take GI into account, and the one study that did found a 32% risk reduction!
How do you go low GI? To reduce the average GI of your diet by 10–15 units, simply swap any high GI foods that you may be eating with low GI alternatives. For example, swap high GI breads and breakfast cereals for low GI ones. A 10–15 unit difference for each food you eat within all of the major food groups will make a difference as it all adds up.

Here at the GI Foundation, we are big fans of the ‘this for that’ swap it approach. The reason why is relatively simple: the GI was originally designed to choose the better options within each food group.

low GI swap it

In Australia, the easiest way to find all round healthy low GI choices is to look for foods with the low GI symbol: not only have they had their GI tested at an accredited lab, but they must also meet category specific nutrient criteria for calories/kilojoules, total and saturated fat, sodium (salt), and where appropriate fibre and calcium.

Elsewhere in the world, checkout the GI News’ 10 tips to reduce the GI of your diet, make use of the GI database at www.glycemicindex.com or pick up a copy of the annual Shopper's Guide to GI Values (it’s published in Australia, New Zealand and the US/Canada.

The GI Symbol, making healthy low GI choices easy choices

New GI Symbol

For more information about the GI Symbol Program
Dr Alan W Barclay, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Glycemic Index Foundation (Ltd)
Phone: +61 (0)2 9785 1037
Mob: +61 (0)416 111 046
Fax: +61 (0)2 9785 1037
Email: alan@gisymbol.com
Website: www.gisymbol.com


Anonymous said...

I might be barking up the wrong tree here but surely the quantity of artificial hormones fed to cows to keep them producing milk long after giving birth must affect the consumers.
Are men who consume large quantities of cows milk more liable to get moobs (man boobs)?
The hormones on their own are scary enough but theres also the pus cells from mastitis infections (again through excessive milking) and the antiboiotics administered to combat this and other infections. These must surely affect the balance within the human body.

Vegetarian sources of calcium are easily available (eg soya products and vegetables) but you only mention dairy in the article.

David Bannerman said...

Have you read The China Study by T Colin Campbell (for 40 years head of Research at Berkley University) I suggest that recommending Dairy Products to reduce risk of Breast Cancer is fallacious. Who did the research that indicates that? In The China Study there is recounted research that indicates that dairy products produce bad bones and is involved in Prostate Cancer,Auto Immune diseases and Type 1 Diabetes. The China Study is peer reviewed medical research.

Frances O said...

Yes, read The China Study by T, Colin Campbell Profesor Emeritus of Cornell University (not Berkeley). Or read Forks over Knives (link in the recipes section of this newsletter).
You will become convinced that a whole food plant-based diet without any dairy products is the route to good health. The diet he recommends is low GI because it includes whole grains, pulses, fruit and vegetables; it avoids animal protein, refined carbohydrates and processed oils.

hermin said...

Hi all,
i see your points there and indeed, there is always a risk with any food, whether it be hormone injection on some cows, or genetic modification in certain soy cultivars. What we could do, i think, is not avoiding all foods altogether, but having them in moderation AND CAMPAIGNING AGAINST THE USE OF CHEMICALS OR POTENTIALLY HARMFUL SUBSTANCES on our nutritious food supply. (i personally don't really believe that the GM soy is really bad, although i'm not a big fan of it).

Contrary to popular belief, soy does not contain much calcium in itself. The calcium in soy milk comes from fortification. As for green veggies: even if they contain a lot of calcium, most of it cannot be absorbed because it is bound to oxalate and phytate. It might be true that people who consume a lot of dairy products have bad bones, but probably the main reason is not the dairy product itself. I think it is either of (or a combination of) the following: excessive intake of dairy, the lack of vitamin K from green veggies, lack of phytoestrogen from soy products, lack of weight-bearing exercise, etc...

hermin said...

Excuse me - when i said "lack of vitamin K from green veggies" i meant to say "lack of green veggies resulting in inadequate vitamin K intake." The same applies to the phytoestrogen one. My apologies... English is not my first language :)

Anonymous said...

The China Study there is recounted research that indicates that dairy products produce bad bones and is involved in Prostate Cancer,Auto Immune diseases and Type 1 Diabetes. The China Study is peer reviewed medical research. China sourcing