A new study has revealed some impressive results when it comes to colorectal cancer: it appears that vegetarian and pescetarian diets decrease the risks of developing colorectal cancer. The study was published in the JAMA Internal Medicine.
There is a plethora of studies that show vegetarians and pescetarians (people who eat fish, but not other types of meat) have a lower incident of heart problems, diabetes, weight problems, hypertension and certain types of cancer. This new study, performed by researchers at Loma Linda University of California, supports the idea that adhering to a vegetarian diet helps fight against certain types of cancer.
Dr. Michael Orlich is the lead author of the study and an assistant professor in medicine and public health at the Loma Linda. He was shocked to find that pescetarians had a much lower risk of developing colorectal cancer than people who were vegetarian, who, in turn, had a much lower risk of getting the disease than meat eaters.
Orlich and his team have used nutritional surveys, medical records and cancer computer registries to analyze a link between eating practices and cancer in the United States. All the records came from around 77,000 people who were Seventh-Day Adventists, who were chosen for the study because their faith motivates them to lead a healthy lifestyle and promotes abstinence from cigarette smoking and drinking alcohol.
The research phase of the study lasted for 7 years and during that time the scientists recorded 380 cases of colon cancer in the patients and 110 rectal cancer cases. After careful examination, it was found that vegetarians were 22% less likely to develop colorectal cancer compared to meat eaters, while pescetarians were 43% less likely to develop cancers of the colon and rectum.
Pescetarians were identified as people who consumed fish at least once a month and meat less than once monthly.
It was also found that people who did not consume meat, but did eat eggs and dairy products had a 15% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer than meat eaters.
According to the American Cancer Society, Americans have a 1 in 20 change of developing either colon or rectal cancer during their lifetime.
Image Source: SodaHead