Consuming certain foods and drinks could put people at a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC), according to a new study published in the journal Nutrients.
Researchers from the Zhejiang University School of Medicine in China analysed 139 dietary factors and their impact on the risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC).
The participants included 118,210 people who participated in the long-running UK Biobank study, all of whom completed online questionnaires about their food intake.
After a mean follow-up of 12.8 years, the researchers identified eight foods that were shown to influence CRC risk.
The first two, alcohol and white bread, were found to increase the risk, regardless of genetic factors.
Previous studies also linked alcohol with increased cancer risk.
“Ethanol in any type of alcoholic beverage is a known risk factor for CRC because its first metabolite, acetaldehyde, has been evaluated as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research,” the study authors wrote.
The white bread-related risk is also consistent with previous studies, they noted.
“Notably, whole grains are a major source of many vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that have anti-cancer properties and may influence CRC risk through several potential mechanisms,” the authors wrote.
The other six dietary elements—fibre, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and carbohydrate intake—were all found to lower the risk of colorectal cancer, the researchers found.
The remaining foods did not show any impact on CRC risk.
These results persisted after adjusting for such factors as family history, age, gender, socioeconomic deprivation, and education.
Fox News Digital reached out to the study authors for comment.
Misagh Karimi, M.D., a medical oncologist and colorectal cancer specialist at the City of Hope Orange County Lennar Foundation Cancer Centre in Irvine, California, was not involved in the study but offered his reaction to its results.
“The findings of this study reaffirm the well-established connection between lifestyle and dietary choices and the prevention of colorectal cancer,” he told Fox News Digital.
“These findings emphasise the critical importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle and dietary habits, which include limiting alcohol consumption and choosing a diet rich in high-fiber foods, to mitigate the risk of cancer,” Karimi added.
While the study doesn’t negate the importance of considering genetic factors in cancer risk, the doctor noted that it does underscore the impact diet can have on cancer prevention.
“This study also stands out because of its size and design,” said Karimi.
“It involved a large sample population of 500,000 middle-aged people, a long follow-up period and a comprehensive assessment of dietary factors.”
The study did have one important limitation, however.
“As the researchers state, the analysis was limited to a European population,” noted Karimi.