Glycemic index, carbohydrate and fiber intakes and risk of reflux esophagitis, Barrett's esophagus, and esophageal adenocarcinoma

Helen G. Mulholland, Marie M. Cantwell, Lesley A. Anderson, Brian T. Johnston, R. G.Peter Watson, Seamus J. Murphy, Heather R. Ferguson, Jim McGuigan, John V. Reynolds, Harry Comber, Liam J. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To examine the association between dietary glycemic index (GI), glycemic load (GL), total carbohydrate, sugars, starch, and fiber intakes and the risk of reflux esophagitis, Barrett's esophagus, and esophageal adenocarcinoma. Methods: In an all-Ireland study, dietary information was collected from patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma (n = 224), long-segment Barrett's esophagus (n = 220), reflux esophagitis (n = 219), and population-based controls (n = 256). Multiple logistic regression analysis examined the association between dietary variables and disease risk by tertiles of intake and as continuous variables, while adjusting for potential confounders. Results: Reflux esophagitis risk was positively associated with starch intake and negatively associated with sugar intake. Barrett's esophagus risk was significantly reduced in people in the highest versus the lowest tertile of fiber intake (OR 0.44 95%CI 0.25-0.80). Fiber intake was also associated with a reduced risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma, as was total carbohydrate intake (OR 0.45 95%CI 0.33-0.61 per 50 g/d increase). However, an increased esophageal adenocarcinoma risk was detected per 10 unit increase in GI intake (OR 1.42 95%CI 1.07-1.89). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that fiber intake is inversely associated with Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma risk. Esophageal adenocarcinoma risk is inversely associated with total carbohydrate consumption but positively associated with high GI intakes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-288
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2009


  • Barrett's esophagus
  • Dietary carbohydrates
  • Esophageal adenocarcinoma
  • Glycemic index
  • Reflux esophagitis


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