Bread consumption linked to cancer, study

By Catherine Boal

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Bread Scientific method Food

Bread has become the latest food group hit by a health scare
following the publication of a scientific study linking the
consumption of bread to kidney cancer.

The research, carried out by the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmalogical Research in Milan, suggests consumers who eat a lot of bread double their risk of developing the cancer compared to those who limit their intake.

While experts have warned that further research is needed before a definitive link is established, consumers are likely to be deterred by the news and the industry could see a further drop in bread sales already hit by summer droughts, high energy costs and waning demand.

The study, published in the International Journal of Cancer last week, examined the lifestyle and medical history of 2,301 adults - 767 of whom had kidney cancer.

It was discovered that those of the group who had eaten the most bread had a 94 per cent higher risk of developing kidney cancer.

Consumption ranged from nine to 28 portions per week, with a single portion consisting of around one and a half slices of bread.

Bread is not the only food consumers may become wary of following the study.

Pasta and rice were also found to be risk factors with 'high intake' raising the risk of kidney cancer by 27 per cent.

The report states: "A significant direct trend in risk was found for bread and a modest excess of risk was observed for pasta and rice."

In order to explain the findings, the scientists involved have theorised that the increase in blood sugar levels caused by a high bread diet is to blame.

But, in a statement commenting on the report, editor of Medical News Today Christian Nordqvist said: "As the researchers say, further research is needed. If the high-bread consumers had eaten just high-fibre wholemeal bread I wonder whether the findings would have been the same."

A Family Food Expenditure report by the UK Department of the Environmental and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) published earlier this year shows that bread sales are feeling the effects of a market increasingly preoccupied with health concerns.

According to DEFRA's figures, sales of wholemeal bread grew by 24.2 per cent while sales of white fell 6.6 per cent.

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