Proper diet and nutrition are important. Yet, you will find many people, throwing caution to the wind, and consistently choosing unhealthy food items. Here’s something that hopefully will change things for good. A new study claims that a bad diet has an impact on an increased risk of cancer.
For the study, an estimated 80,110 new case among 20 and older cancer patients were observed. Their eating habits were also taken into the record. The study was published in the journal, JNCI Cancer Spectrum.
"This is equivalent to about 5.2% of all invasive cancer cases newly diagnosed among US adults in 2015," said Dr. Fang Fang Zhang, a nutrition and cancer epidemiologist at Tufts University in Boston, who was the first author of the study.
"This proportion is comparable to the proportion of cancer burden attributable to alcohol," she said.
For the study, the researchers evaluated seven directory factors: low intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and dairy products and high intake of processed meats, red meats, and sugary beverages.
"Low whole-grain consumption was associated with the largest cancer burden in the US, followed by low dairy intake, high processed-meat intake, low vegetable and fruit intake, high red meat intake and high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages," Zhang said.
A comparative risk assessment model was used for the study. It involved estimating the number of cancer cases associated with a poor diet. Those estimations were made using diet-cancer associations found in separate studies.
"Previous studies provide strong evidence that high consumption of processed meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer and low consumption of whole grains decreases the risk of colorectal cancer," Zhang said. "However, our study quantified the number and proportion of new cancer cases that are attributable to poor diet at the national level."
The study said that rectal and colon cancers had the highest number and proportion of diet-related cases, at 38.3%.
A closer look at the eating habits revealed that low consumption of whole grain and dairy products, and a lot of processed meat contributed to the highest cancer burden.
The study had some limitations, including that the data couldn't shed light on how the association between diet and cancer risk may change as a person ages.
All in all, "diet is among the few modifiable risk factors for cancer prevention," Zhang said. "These findings underscore the needs for reducing cancer burden and disparities in the US by improving the intake of key food groups and nutrients."
Looks like the fast world where everybody is looking for a quick, tasty meal may be the culprit. If you’re trying to eat healthily, stay away from processed foods. It may be convenient now, but it isn’t doing health any favours.