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The higher the quality of carbohydrates, the lower the risk of breast cancer.

University dietitian Andrea Romanos recommends the consumption of whole grain cereals, as well as whole grain rice, pasta and bread.

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Nutritionist Andrea Romanos PHOTO: Manuel Castells
24/11/20 12:13 Miguel Ángel Echávarri

A study of the University of Navarra has shown that a higher quality of carbohydrates ingested is associated with a lower risk of breast cancer, mainly in premenopausal women. The results of the work of the department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health of the School of Medicine, whose main author is the nutritionist Andrea Romanos, and remember, in this World Day of the Dietitian-Nutritionist 2020, the impact that food has on health. 

Andrea Romanos, who is doing her thesis with a predoctoral financial aid from the association Española Contra el Cáncer (AECC) of Navarra, presented the study, graduate Carbohydrate quality index and breast cancer risk in a Mediterranean cohort: The SUN project at the congress American Society for Nutrition 2020, held virtually last June. This is a work published in the prestigious journal Clinical Nutrition, and is part of the project SUN (Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra), belonging to the CIBER de Obesidad y Nutrición (high school de Salud Carlos III), directed by Dr. Miguel Ángel Martínez-González and Dr. Estefanía Toledo.

The study analyzed the relationship between carbohydrate intake and the risk of developing breast cancer, the most common malignant tumor among women worldwide. The results showed that a higher quality of carbohydrates ingested, i.e., those with higher dietary fiber content (1), lower glycemic index (2), giving preference to solid carbohydrates over liquid (3) and whole grain or whole grain (4), was associated with a lower risk of breast cancer, mainly in premenopausal women. "Although much of the information about carbohydrate consumption as energy source refers to the amount of carbohydrates in the intake, it is very important to take into account the quality of these nutrients -explains Andrea Romanos-. Therefore, in this study we evaluated it, and we were able to observe that the quality of these was more relevant than the total amount of carbohydrates ingested". 

"According to these results, we see that it is essential to reduce the consumption of products such as milk shakes, sugary drinks, commercial or bottled juices, white bread, industrial pastries, sweets and chocolates; and increase the consumption of legumes, fruits, vegetables, vegetables, whole grain cereals, such as wheat, oats, quinoa, and choose rice, pasta and bread in their whole grain versions", the researcher specifies. She also adds: "From the point of view of research, we note the importance of not only focusing on the quantity of carbohydrates, but also on their quality for the prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases," she concludes. 

For the realization of work , the information of 10,812 women participating in the project SUN was analyzed, who provided, at the beginning of the study, data about their life habits, physical exercise, medical history, frequency of consumption of 136 foods; and reproductive factors and family history of breast cancer. These women, free of breast cancer at the start of the study, were followed up every two years for a 12-year average , during which time 101 new cases of breast cancer were confirmed by medical reports.

The World Dietitian-Nutritionist Day arrives this year with the slogan "More essential than ever", a phrase reaffirmed by Andrea Romanos: "We are more essential than ever because a poor diet weakens our immune system and, therefore, if this happens, it is much easier to catch COVID-19, and the prognosis is worse. However, and for the good, a good patron saint diet also protects us from a large number of other diseases. Among them, those that today cause a greater issue number of deaths in developed countries, such as cardiovascular disease (heart attacks, strokes) and cancer. The work of nutritionists is core topic in the promotion of health".