A recent study conducted by the University of Edinburgh has found that a diet high in meats, fats and sugars could potentially increase the risk of colorectal - or as it is more commonly known - bowel cancer, as we age. While more studies will need to be conducted, this connection between sugars, fats and colorectal cancer could lead to an eventual reduction of the disease if awareness about its origins was increased.
The research revealed
Scientists from the University of Edinburgh looked at more than 170 foods throughout the course of the study, including a wide variety of meats, vegetables, snack foods and fruits. They also looked at additional risk factors including low physical activity levels and whether participants smoked. For part of their research, they utilized a data set from the 2012 Scottish Colorectal Cancer Study, which also stressed potential links between diet and cancer.
In the 2012 cancer study, researchers noted two specific eating patterns, one rich in fruits, vegetables and lean meats, and the other, known as the western dietary pattern, as being high in fats, meats and sugars. That particular study found that the healthier diet led to a decreased risk of colorectal cancer, while the western pattern increased that risk. At Edinburgh, similar results were shown in their own study, leading Dr. Evropi Theodoratou of the University of Edinburgh to comment on the potential connection between sugars and cancer.
“What we have found is very interesting and it merits further investigation using large population studies,” said Dr. Theodoratou. “While the positive associations between a diet high in sugar and fat and colorectal cancer do not automatically imply ‘cause and effect’, it is important to take on board what we’ve found—especially as people in industrialized countries are consuming more of these foods.”
Promoting a healthier diet
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and lean meats can reduce the risk of many different forms of cancer. Eliminating sugary snacks, drinks and additives (refined sugar, syrups, spreads etc) can also be highly beneficial, not just in reducing the risk of cancer, but to your teeth, energy levels, overall health and bodily functions. For tips on how to beat back sugar cravings check out our blog post 3 Tips for Beating Sugar Addiction.