Study: Men who eat a lot of ultra-processed food are at a heightened risk of colorectal cancer

According to new study results published in The British Medical Journal (The BMJ) men whose diets includes a high amount of ultra-processed foods are 29% more at risk of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

The BMJ, in their report, emphasized the need for a good diet and that ultra-processed meals are packed full of unsavory contents.

“Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed malignancy among both men and women in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancer worldwide,” the medical journal wrote. “Diet has been recognized as an important modifiable risk factor for colorectal cancer.”

“Meanwhile, ultra-processed foods (that is, industrial ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat formulations made of little or no whole foods) now contribute 57% of total daily calories consumed by American adults, which has been continuously increasing in the past two decades,” they said, adding: “These foods are usually high in added sugar, oils/fats, and refined starch, altering gut microbiota composition unfavorably5 and contributing to increased risk of weight gain and obesity, an established risk factor for colorectal cancer.”

When compared with men who consumed the lowest quantities of ultra-processed food, those in the highest-consumption group had an increased risk of the cancer remaining, even after adjusting for body mass index. Among the at-risk men, the risk was especially high for distal colon cancer. 

“Processed meats, most of which fall into the category of ultra-processed foods, are a strong risk factor for colorectal cancer,” explained lead study author Lu Wang of Tufts University. “Ultra-processed foods are also high in added sugars and low in fiber, which contribute to weight gain and obesity, and obesity is an established risk factor for colorectal cancer.”

The results of the study didn’t show any association between women’s health and a high amount of ultra-processed foods.

A total of 46,341 men and 159,907 women were questioned as part of the survey. Between 24 and 28 years of follow-up, 1,294 cases of colorectal cancer among men were recorded and 1,922 among women. 




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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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