Added sugar, glycemic index and load in colon cancer risk

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2012 Jul;15(4):368-73. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e3283539f81.


Purpose of review: There is a growing body of in-vivo evidences that sucrose-rich diets cause mutations in the rat colon epithelium, with several biological mechanism hypothesized, but epidemiological studies have yielded conflicting results. In order to provide a quantification of the magnitude of the risk of colon cancer for high intake of added sugar, high dietary glycemic index and glycemic load, we performed a meta-analysis based on a systematic review of the literature to date.

Recent findings: Recent epidemiological data indicate a lack of association between high intake of added sugar, high-glycemic index and glycemic load diets and risk of colon cancer.

Summary: There is no consistent evidence from epidemiological studies, although a modest excess risk emerged in case-control studies, that added sugars, dietary glycemic index and glycemic load are associated with increased risk of colon cancer, independently from their effect on energy intake, overweight, obesity and diabetes, which are related to excess colon cancer risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / blood
  • Colonic Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Dietary Sucrose / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Sucrose / metabolism
  • Energy Intake*
  • Glycemic Index*
  • Humans


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Sucrose