Dietary Factors and Colon Cancer Risk

May 12, 2009 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Dietary Factors and Colon Cancer Risk
A very large European study1 of 452,755 people has clearly established that the highest intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with the lowest rate of colon cancer.

The study participants were followed for 8 years. There was 86% less colon cancer in the group with the highest fruit and vegetable intake. It has been known for decades that fruits and vegetables contain fiber, antioxidants, and other co-factors that significantly improve cellular health and protect cells from damage, including mutation damage. The researchers also noted that smoking negated this benefit, though past smokers did benefit.

Another related study was a meta-analysis done evaluating animal fat and animal protein2 as risks for colon cancer. The researchers found no association between animal products and colon cancer.

Collectively, this study means eat lots of fruits and veggies with your meals. Certainly there is better quality animal protein, but in and of itself it is not a risk factor for colon cancer. Animal protein is an excellent source of multiple nutrients that are difficult to find elsewhere. The best strategy is to eat your proteins with friendly veggies and fruit.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Colon Cancer, Fruits, and Vegetables  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,  Fränzel JB van Duijnhoven, H Bas Bueno-De-Mesquita, Pietro Ferrari, Mazda Jenab, Hendriek C Boshuizen, Martine M Ros, Corinne Casagrande, Anne Tjønneland, Anja Olsen, Kim Overvad, Ole Thorlacius-Ussing, Françoise Clavel-Chapelon, et al.
  2. ^ Colon Cancer and Animal Protein  Am J Clin Nutr   Dominik D Alexander, Colleen A Cushing, Kimberly A Lowe, Bonnie Sceurman and Mark A Roberts.

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