Sodium is one of the main risk factors for gastric cancer because it damages the stomach lining and causes lesions. In fact, populations that consume higher amounts of salt have been studied closely for their cancer burden. Some of this research has pointed to a potential association between specific soup dishes and a higher incidence of disease.
In 2012, a Korean study published in the journal Nutrients evaluated the link between different soup dishes and the incidence of stomach cancer.
The researchers pointed out that a large number of studies evaluating these dishes – which bring high levels of sodium to the diet – and their results are inconsistent.
For their research, a total of 440 cases and 485 controls were recruited to determine how meals containing noodles, dumplings, soups and stews affected cancer risk.
“In our results, high consumption of noodles and dumplings was associated with a significantly increased incidence of gastric cancer,” they wrote.
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The main culprit in these dishes is salt, but another key component is refined carbs, also known as simple or processed carbs, which have essentially been stripped of their nutrients.
Evidence linking carbohydrates to the development of cancer in humans is limited, but epidemiological studies have linked starch consumption to two forms of cancer.
“Frequent starch consumption was associated with a high incidence of gastric cancer in one case-control study and esophageal cancer in another,” explains the National Library of Medicine.
He adds: “However, the evidence is insufficient to allow definitive conclusions to be drawn.”
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The NHS explains: “Starchy foods – such as potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals – should make up just over a third of the food you eat, as the Eatwell Guide shows.
“When you can, choose whole-grain varieties and eat potatoes with their skins on for more fiber.”
Healthy starches provide a good source of energy as they contain fiber, calcium, iron and B vitamins.
Certain varieties of starch like resistant starch – found in bananas and oatmeal – may even protect against the development of cancer in some cases.
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In people with Lynch syndrome – a rare genetic that increases cancer risk – resistant starch can reduce the risk of gastrointestinal cancers by almost 50%.
One of the main characteristics of this starch is that it is not digested by the small intestine but is fermented in the large intestine.
In doing so, it helps feed beneficial gut bacteria by acting similarly to dietary fiber in the digestive system.
Professor John Mathers, Professor of Human Nutrition at Newcastle University, who participated in the study, said: “We have found that resistant starch can reduce the development of cancer by altering the chain of bacterial metabolism of bile acids and reducing these types of bile aids. that damage our DNA and eventually cause cancer.”
Conversely, other starches like simple carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and other sugar units, causing spikes in blood sugar.
In early research published in the journal Gastric Cancer, researchers set out to assess the role of different food groups as well as broader eating habits, categorized as ‘starchy’, ‘healthy’ and ‘mixed’.
Their analysis of different food groups showed increased gastric cancer risks for rice, salted meat, stewed meat, white bread, potatoes and tubers.
“All three dietary patterns, generated by factor analysis, were significantly associated with the risk of gastric carcinoma,” the study leaders wrote.
They added: “While the starchy factors were directly associated with gastric cancer, the healthy and mixed regimens were strongly protective.”