New Studies Find A Correlation Between Consuming Processed Foods and Colorectal Cancer In Men

High intake of ultra-processed foods is associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease, bowel (colorectal) cancer, and death, according to two large studies published in an issue of The BMJ. The results provide more proof that restricting ultra-processed foods and encouraging the consumption of unprocessed or less processed meals is necessary to improve global public health. Furthermore, they highlight the potential for reworking dietary guidelines around the world to incorporate considerations of food processing intensity with nutrient-based advice. The BMJ features a study that examines the relationship between food and colorectal cancer in more than 46,000 men and 150,00 women. During the 24-28-year follow-up period, researchers discovered an association between ultra-processed meals and colorectal cancer in males, but not in women. The study found that "men in the highest fifth of ultra-processed food consumers had a 29% higher chance of acquiring colorectal cancer than those in the lowest fifth." However, no "significant connection" was found when analysing data from female participants. Cancer epidemiologist and co-author Fang Fang Zhang told CNN Health that the differences between men and women may be due to the varied roles that obesity, sex hormones, and metabolic hormones play in each sex. To sum up, co-author Fang Fang Zhang of the Friedman School in Massachusetts (USA) says, "Much of the dependence on certain meals can boil down to issues like food access and convenience. Foods that have been chemically processed can often be stored for longer, but this comes at the expense of their nutritional value. We must educate the public on the dangers of eating too much junk food and facilitate the adoption of healthier eating habits.

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