The nation’s second most lethal type of cancer could largely be prevented through diet, according to a just-released study hailed as the “most authoritative report on colorectal cancer and diet ever conducted.”
The study, part of the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research’s innovative and thorough Continuous Update Project (CUP), further confirmed that consumption of red and processed meat increased the risk of the disease. The study concluded that about 45 percent of colorectal cancer cases could be prevented by eating more fiber-rich fruits and vegetables and less meat.
CUP also added research from seven new studies on the effects of fiber in preventing colon cancer to the eight it reported on in 2007. Based on its new findings, CUP upgraded the role of fiber in preventing colon cancer from “probable” to “convincing.”
CUP is recommending that people eat a plant-based diet that includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans and get regular exercise. “Our review has found strong evidence that many cases of colorectal cancer are not inevitable and that people can significantly reduce their risk by making changes to their diet and lifestyle,” noted the chair of CUP’s expert panel, Dr. Alan Jackson. “Because our judgments are based on more evidence than ever before, the public can be confident that this represents the best advice available on preventing colorectal cancer.”
The National Cancer Institute says that one-third of all cancer deaths are the result of poor nutrition and inactivity (only an estimated 5 to 10 percent of cancer types are strongly hereditary). Most meat is loaded with saturated fat, which raises hormone levels and promotes the growth of cancer cells. Furthermore, people who base their diets on meat instead of plants miss out on the valuable cancer-fighting nutrients and fiber in plant foods.
Major studies like this one should serve as a wake-up call to those still dining on animal products. One of the easiest ways to reduce the risk of colon cancer and other types of cancer, as well as heart disease, strokes, and obesity, is by being more conscious of every bite we take. PETA would love to help you get started with a free vegetarian/vegan starter kit. Your body will benefit, and you’ll save 100 animals every year just by switching your diet.