Soda, Donuts, Meat May Increase Colon Cancer

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Yes, Soda, Donuts, Meat May Increase Colon Cancer according two large studies.


Just last week our family lost a relative to cancer of the colon at 53 years of age. She never had any major illnesses till she complained nausea and vomiting after eating and feeling bloated. After seeing a physician she diagnosed to have stage 4 colon cancer after undergoing a CAT scan of her abdomen.

colorectal cancer stages 1024x696 Soda, Donuts, Meat May Increase Colon Cancer
a Stages of Colon Cancer

The colon or the large intestine is the part the stores waste products of digestion before evacuation and were water is absorbed from food. A recent two major studies have shown that drinking sugar loaded drinks, eating white bread and red meat may increase the risk of developing colon cancer.


These food are known to increase inflammation in your body and increases the chance of developing colon cancer. These foods irritate the lining of the colon and tend to stay longer in the colon (more constipating) because they are low on  fiber.


Dr. Edward Giovannuci, researcher and professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, said “Basically what makes a healthy diet overall promotes a cancer-free colon.”


For years there been a known association of diet and colon cancer.  In an old study it showed that Japanese immigrants to the in this US compared with those who live in Japan had a significant higher incidence of colon and rectal cancer, and those Japanese that were born and raise in the US had 40-50% higher colon cancer. They noted that in Japan their diet consisted more of  rice, fish and vegetables and when they migrated to the US they adopted to the American with more red meat, high sugar and white bread.


According to Giovannucci and fellow researchers the inflammatory effects of certain foods people eat is one way that colon cancer risk is increased.


More and more research have shown that the chronic inflammatory effects of certain foods promotes or causes many disease processes in the body. It is not just cancer even heart disease, strokes, arthritis, immune disease and many other maybe the result of the negative effects of food causing chronic inflammation.


Studies were done on data gathered on 121,000 individuals in two studies – the Health Professionals Follow-up Studies and the Nurses’ Health studies. In both groups subjects were followed-up for a quarter century to track things that may influence their health.


The participants were made to fill out a food questionnaires every four years. This helped the researchers determine the dietary inflammation score on each individual.


During the course of the study 2,699 of the group develop colorectal cancer. The researchers compared the foods these subjects ate to those who did not develop that cancer. I showed that those who ate the most inflammatory foods  were 30% more likely to develop colon cancer and 70% more to develop rectal cancer.


According to Giovannucci, “processed meat (sausages, salami), red meat, refine floor (white flour) and sugary drinks were linked most to cancer related inflammation.” On the other hand he noted, “green leafy vegetables, dark yellow vegetables, whole grains and fruit juices reduced inflammation.”


Inflammation seems to be the new buzzword medicine. Dr. Brent Bauer, editorial Board member of Mayo Clinic Health Letter, says inflammatory foods play a role in many chronic diseases such cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The possible connection of gum disease with cardiovascular disease, clogged arteries, stroke and bacterial endocarditis.


I recall one of my son-in-law requested a friend to drive him and his family to the airport, on the way back the friend decided to fill his car with gas. She pulled in to the gas station filled up the tank. She was barely able to get home because the car slowed down lucky for her it finally stop when she got home. When my son-in-law came back he had the car towed to the mechanic who discovered that instead of gasoline, diesel was in the tank. It cost him about $900 to fix the damage. It would have been cheaper to ride a taxi.


What does all mean to us? Obviously wrongful eating habits don’t have an immediate impact like putting diesel in gasoline engine but as one gets older many of the diseases resulting from it may cause disability and even early death. Remember that colon and rectal cancer are slow-growing and could be cured in it early stages so in yearly check up with your physician discuss it with your provider and also make some changes now.


The suggested healthy foods based on the Mediterranean diet:

  • Eating generous amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Consuming healthy fats, such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Eating small portions of nuts
  • Consuming very little or no red meat


In general adopt a plant-based diet and avoiding manufactured foods with all the preservatives, sugar, salt and other chemicals which is not healthy for you. Remember your body is more valuable and more complex than your car, feed it with premium food for optimal function so as you get old like some of us, you won’t have to be pre-occupied dealing and talking about aches and pains and other health problems. Bon appetite.


Laurence T. Gayao, MD

Total Fitness Medicine, Founder

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