According to the American Cancer Society, there are around 95000 new patients with colon cancer in the United States every year, nearly half of them are rectal cancer. The main risk factors are well-known for years: alcohol, obesity and processed meat, but a study released early this month in Nature warns us about new greater risk for colon cancer: High-Fat Diet!
High-fat diet promote unnecessary insulin production and it turns out that cancer cells ‘feed’ on insulin. High fat (sugar and high carbohydrate) foods change the methylation pattern of insulin genes that causes abnormal cell growth that can turn to pre-cancerous polyps and colon cancer.
Scientists discovered that a high-fat diet can create more intestinal stem cells in mice, and can even cause a lot of other cells to behave like stem cells.
“Not only does the high-fat diet change the biology of stem cells, it also changes the biology of non-stem-cell populations, which collectively leads to an increase in tumor formation,”, said researcher Omer Yilmaz, who is a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and a gastrointestinal pathologist at Massachusetts General Hospital.
His team fed a group of mice a high-fat diet for nine to 12 months, while other group were fed a more balanced diet. The recommended amount of fat intake in a normal diet is about 20 to 30 percent. The high-fat diet used in this study was 60 percent fat.
The results found that consuming a high-fat diet increased body mass from 30 to 50 percent more than eating a normal diet. What’s worst, mice consuming more fat had not only more intestinal tumors, but their stem cells could work without any response from nearby cells. It means that cells were able of developing in a cell-culture dish (a shallow cylindrical glass or plastic lidded dish that biologists use to culture cells) completely unsupported by other cells.
The World Health Organization confirmed last year that fatty, processed meats like bacon and sausage are known carcinogens. Obesity and inactivity are the most common risk factors for colorectal cancer, and avoiding red meat and processed meat can help you lower the risk.
Learn more about how to Eliminate Your Cancer Risk in 5 Steps.