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Sugary Diet Tied to Bowel Cancer Risk

Update Date: Jul 16, 2013 10:55 AM EDT

Despite how delicious sugary foods are, several studies have found mounting evidence that sugar is not good for the body. Too much sugar can lead to type two diabetes and obesity, which then contribute to several other health complications. Due to the risk factors associated with sugar, several campaigns have tried to limit sugar intake by pulling these items from schools and replacing them with healthier choices. In a new study, more research reveals another potential side effect of sugar intake. This study found that a diet high in sugar could increase one's risk of bowel cancer.

In this study, researchers from the Aberdeen and Edinburgh University in Scotland used the data compiled from the Scottish Colorectal Cancer Study. From the data, researchers evaluated the diets of 2,000 participants who were diagnosed with bowel cancer. The researchers compared the diets of this sample size to a healthy group with around the same number of people. From these diet comparisons, the researchers had analyzed over 170 different types of food ranging from fruits and vegetables to chocolates and chips. The researchers were able to separate the foods into two distinctive eating patterns. The first one involved healthier foods, such as fruits and vegetables. The other one was modeled under the western pattern eating style, which included meats and foods that were high in fat and sugar.

The researchers found that the healthy eating pattern was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer. The western diet, however, was tied to increasing one's risk of colorectal cancer. Although this is not the first study to find an association between diet and colorectal cancer risk, the findings add more supporting evidence for this association. From this study, the researchers also confirmed previous findings that family history, smoking and level of physical activity affected colorectal cancer risk.  

"While the positive associations between a diet high in sugar and fat and colorectal cancer do not automatically imply 'cause and effect,' it is important to take on board what we've found - especially as people in industrialized countries are consuming more of these food," Dr. Evropi Theodoratou from the University of Edinburgh's School of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Services said according to BBC News. "What we have found is very interesting and it merits further investigation using large population studies."

The study was published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention. It was funded by the Medical Research Council, the Chief Scientist Office and Cancer Research UK

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