The Standard American Diet (SAD)—high in starchy carbohydrates and sugars, unhealthy fats, and meats, and low in nutrient-dense vegetables and fruits—has been linked, yet again, to poor health. This time researchers have found that the SAD diet increases the risk of recurrence or death of stage III colon cancer.

In a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, participants with stage III cancer who had the highest carbohydrate intake were found to have an 80 percent increased risk of colon cancer recurrence or death compared with those eating the lowest amount of carbs. In overweight or obese patients, the risk was even greater.

“In light of our and other’s research, we theorize that factors including a high glycemic load may stimulate the body’s production of insulin. That, in turn, may increase the proliferation of cells and prevent the natural cell-death process in cancer cells that have metastasized from their original site,” stated lead author, Jeffrey Meyerhardt, MD, MPH. “Our findings may offer useful guidance for patients and physicians in ways of improving patient survival after treatment.”

I try to emphasize diet as the most important component of a healthy lifestyle. Without a healthy diet rich in non-starchy vegetables and fruits, healthy fats, lean proteins, nuts, and seeds, your road to health will be a meandering journey that doesn’t quite get to the place of vibrant health you are seeking. The Standard American Diet, enticing as it may be, promotes silent inflammation and disease in the body. This study is yet one more glimpse of that basic reality—our diets must change.