Study links ultra-processed foods and colorectal cancer in men

There could be factors beyond the poor diet quality of ultra-processed foods that impact the risk of developing colorectal cancer

For many Americans, the convenience of pre-cooked and instant meals may make it easy to overlook the less-than-ideal nutritional information, but a team led by researchers at Tufts University and Harvard University hope that will change after recently discovering a link between the high consumption of ultra-processed foods and an increased risk of colorectal cancer.

In a study, researchers found that men who consumed high rates of ultra-processed foods were at 29% higher risk for developing colorectal cancer, the third most diagnosed cancer in the United States, than men who consumed much smaller amounts. They did not find the same association in women.

The team found the strongest association between colorectal cancer and ultra-processed foods among men come from the meat, poultry, or fish-based, ready-to-eat products. 

The team also found higher consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, like soda, fruit-based beverages, and sugary milk-based beverages, is associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer in men.

However, not all ultra-processed foods are equally harmful with regard to colorectal cancer risk.

Image credit- shutterstock

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