Today, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) named processed meat as a carcinogen. AICR has included avoiding processed meat as one of our recommendations for cancer prevention since 2007. Processed meat (and high amounts of red meat) increase risk for colorectal cancer.
For colorectal cancer, research shows that eating healthy, being active, and staying a healthy weight make a big difference in reducing the risk of developing this cancer. AICR estimates that while there are no guarantees, one of every two colorectal cancer cases can be prevented by following our recommendations.
Now a new study suggests that following AICR recommendations for prevention years before diagnosis can prolong survival for those who do develop colorectal cancer. And every recommendation followed decreased the risk of dying a little more.
What you eat can play a big role in preventing colorectal cancer, with research showing that fiber-filled foods lower risk; red and processed meats increase it. Now a study hones in on how diet can affect risk, showing that swapping a high-fiber healthy diet for a low-fiber western-style diet alters gut bacteria and signs of inflammation that may play a role in colon cancer.
The study is published in Nature Communicationsand it adds to a growing body of research on how our bacteria – our microbiota – play a role in cancer risk.
For the study, researchers flipped the diets of 20 African Americans and 20 South Africans for two weeks. All the participants had colonoscopy exams before and after the diet swap.
The Americans were served African-style foods, almost quadrupling their fiber intake to an amount equal to over 3.5 cups of beans. At the same time, they cut their calories from fat in half. Africans went the opposite direction, dramatically cutting their fiber and upping their fat intake.
After two weeks on the African diet, the Americans had less markers of inflammation in the colon while those same markers increased among the Africans eating the less healthy diet. There were also opposing increases and decreases of the compound butyrate, which forms from digesting fiber and is linked to lowering colon cancer risk. The American group was producing more butyrate; the Africans on the American diet less. Read more… “Diet Swap Alters Gut Bacteria, Signs of Colon Cancer Risk”
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American Institute for Cancer Research
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