- Dietary habits, especially consumption of sugars and saturated fats, can enhance inflammation and potentially increase the risk of health problems including gastrointestinal cancers.
- The study involving over 10,500 individuals proved a correlation between inflammatory diets and a 53 percent higher likelihood of early death. The risk of dying from gastrointestinal tract cancer was quadrupled among individuals consuming inflammatory diets.
- The results of the research emphasize the need to shift towards a more anti-inflammatory, predominantly plant-based diet rich in nutrients and phytochemicals.
- While the study shows a strong correlation, it does not establish a causal link between inflammation-associated diets and early death risks. Further research is needed for confirmation.
A particular focus on dietary habits may be key to understanding and mitigating the risk of inflammation-related health problems, including prevalent gastrointestinal cancers. Consuming a diet rich in sugars and saturated fats, known to enhance inflammation, could potentially increase the risk of premature death from all causes, recent research indicates. Such inflammatory diets could particularly raise the risk for cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, which include cancers of the esophagus, stomach, colon, and rectum.
Does Your Diet Fuel Inflammation?
The role of the diet in modulating inflammation has been proven by various studies. Also, inflammation has been acknowledged as a vital driver for the growth of numerous cancers, especially colorectal cancer. Emphasizing this connection, Susan Steck, a co-author of the study and an Associate Professor at the University of South Carolina, elaborated on the potential implications of the research.
Study Findings: Inflammatory Diets and Health Risks
The study involved tracking the health of over 10,500 individuals between 1987 and 2003. By the conclusion of the study, more than 250 participants had passed away, with 30 of these deaths attributed to gastrointestinal tract cancers. It was found that participants whose diets were closely associated with inflammation had a 53 percent higher likelihood of dying early from any cause compared to those patrons of a more anti-inflammatory diet. Furthermore, the risk of dying from gastrointestinal tract cancer was quadrupled amongst individuals consuming diets most likely to induce inflammation, compared to those following anti-inflammatory, predominantly plant-based diets.
Study Presentation and Implications
The outcomes of the research were discussed at the annual meeting of the American Institute for Cancer Research. While the results should initially be considered preliminary, confirmation in a peer-reviewed journal could set a stronger precedent.
Fred Tabung, the lead author of the study and a doctoral candidate in epidemiology at the University of South Carolina, identified the research as a reinforcement for recommendations to shift towards a more anti-inflammatory diet. Such a diet would contain a variety of plant-based foodstuffs that are rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients and phytochemicals.
Despite the strength of these findings, Tabung calls for further research. “The small number of gastrointestinal tract cancers in our study indicates a need for these results to be confirmed in larger, similar studies,” Tabung noted.
It’s also worth noting that this research demonstrates a correlation only between inflammation-associated diets and early death risks and does not necessarily establish a causal link.
The American Cancer Society offers insightful information on lifestyle choices that can reduce your risk of cancer.