A new study has allegedly linked a high dietary glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load—“markers of carbohydrate intake”—to an increased risk  of lung cancer in non-smokers. Stephanie C. Melkonian, et al., “Glycemic Index, Glycemic Load, and Lung Cancer Risk in Non-Hispanic Whites,” Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, March 2016.

Comparing data from newly diagnosed lung cancer cases to a group of healthy controls, the study authors reportedly found an increased risk for lung cancer among participants with dietary GI in the highest quintile, compared to those in the lowest quintile. In particular, their stratified analyses purportedly noted “a more profound, independent association between dietary GI and lung cancer risk in individuals without traditional lung cancer risk factors.”

“Diets high in GI result in higher levels of blood glucose and insulin, which promote glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and hyperin- sulinemia,” explain the researchers. “This is only the second study to suggest an independent association between GI and lung cancer risk and the first study to suggest that GI may influence lung cancer risk more profoundly in specific subgroups, including never smokers, individuals with low levels of education (<12 years), and those diagnosed with certain histologic subtypes of lung cancer.”