Calling all vegetarians and skeptical meat eaters!
A new study published in JAMA shows that ditching the meat and grabbing a veggie kabob may offer protective benefits to help reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer.
With March being colorectal cancer awareness month, it is important to shed light on any risk-reducing strategy to help prevent the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States.1
It is often discussed that there are dietary modifications that can be made to decrease your risk of developing colorectal cancer. For example, red meat is associated with an increased risk of disease whereas foods that are rich in dietary fiber are associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancers.1
A recent study led by Michael J. Orlich, MD, PhD, from Loma Linda University in California, and colleagues followed 77,659 Seventh-day Adventist men and women in the US. Among these study participants, researchers identified 380 colon cancer cases and 110 rectal cancer cases. They found that there was a 22% lower risk of all colorectal cancers in vegetarians versus non-vegetarians. They also found that vegetarians experienced a 19% lower risk for developing colon cancer and a 29% lower risk for developing rectal cancer.1
Other vegetarian subcategories indicated protective benefits as well. For example, when compared to non-vegetarians, there was a 16% lower risk of colorectal cancers in vegans, an 18% lower risk in lacto-ovo vegetarians (eat milk and eggs), a 43% less risk in pesco-vegetarians (eat fish), and an 8% less risk in semi-vegetarians (eat some meat).1
"If such associations are casual, they may be important for primary prevention of colorectal cancers," said Orlich. "The evidence in this online JAMA Internal Medicine article that vegetarian diets similar to those of our study participants may be associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer should also be considered carefully in making dietary choices and in giving dietary guidance."1
- Naito C. (2015). Vegetarian diets linked to lower risk of colorectal cancers. Loma Linda University Health.