Greener BeeGreen LivingIs Your Diet Increasing Your Colon Cancer Risk?

If you’re eating the Standard American Diet, a ketogenic diet, Atkins or another high fat diet, then you may inadvertently be increasing your colon cancer risk. That’s because research shows that high fat diets increase the risk of this serious form of cancer.

Recent research in the medical journal Stem Cell Reports found that eating a high fat diet increases the risk of colorectal cancer. The researchers also identified a cellular pathway that drives the growth of cancer stem cells in the colon, thereby contributing to the disease. Colorectal cancer, also known as bowel cancer, colon cancer or rectal cancer, is the third most common type of cancer in North America, next to lung cancer.

Many high fat diets are also high in processed meat, such as bacon, sausage or luncheon meats, and red meat, which also have been linked to colorectal cancer, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). New research in the Journal of Gastroenterology confirmed the WHO’s conclusions about these meat products. Diets high in animal protein in general have also been linked to colorectal cancer.

High fat diets are not the only contributors to colorectal cancer. Sadly, many of the processed, prepared and fast foods found in high fat diets also contain two food additives that add insult to injury. Two commonly-used emulsifiers used by the food industry: carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate 80.  Carboxymethylcellulose is frequently labeled “cellulose gum” on product labels. Polysorbate 80 is often just referred to as polysorbate or called Tween 80. According to Georgia State University research, both of these food additives contribute to the risk for colorectal cancer.

How to Reduce Your Risk

I’d rather not just be the bearer of bad news. So, here’s some good news to counter your risk of colorectal cancer: your daily coffee may actually be helping you to thwart this often-deadly cancer. According to research in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, Prevention researchers found that your daily java may significantly reduce your colorectal cancer risk. In this study, researchers found that drinking 1 to 2 cups of coffee daily reduced colorectal cancer risk by 26 percent while drinking at least 2.5 cups daily cut the risk in half.

Eating a diet high in chlorogenic acid has also been found to reduce colorectal cancer risk. In addition to coffee, other foods that contain chlorogenic acid include: apples, carrots, flaxseeds, pineapples, potatoes and strawberries.

Eating a plant-based diet high in fiber can also reduce your risk. Add legumes, whole grains, fruit and vegetables to take advantage of the fiber but also the many plant-based nutrients known as phytonutrients that can cut your cancer risk.

I probably don’t need to tell you that it is also important to quit smoking and start exercising to further reduce your colorectal cancer risk.

High fat diets are not only linked to colon cancer. Other research shows that a high fat diet prior to conception of a child and during the pregnancy increases the risk of breast cancer and mental illness in later years in the offspring.  Check out my blog “High Fat Diet Raises Breast Cancer and Mental Illness Risk in Offspring” for more information.

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-news World’s Healthiest News, president of PureFood BC, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include:  The Life Force Diet: 3 Weeks to Supercharge Your Health and Get Slim with Enzyme-Rich Foods.

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