Consumption of ultra-processed foods linked to higher cancer risk

A new study published in the BMJ, has reported an association between comsuming a diet high in utlra-processed foods and a higher overall cancer risk.  The ultra- processed foods, sugary breakfast cereals, pizza, cakes and pre-sliced bread, may increase the risk of cancer.  The results demonstrated that if consumption of ultra-processed foods increased by 10%, was associated with a greater than 10% risk in overall and breast cancer.
During the study:

  • On average, 18% of people’s diet was ultra-processed
  • On average, there were 79 cancers per 10,000 people each year
  • Upping the proportion of processed food by 10% would lead to nine extra cancers per 10,000 people per year

The researchers concluded: “These results suggest that the rapidly increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods may drive an increasing burden of cancer in the next decades.”

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The full article is also available to read at the BMJ

Abstract

Objective To assess the prospective associations between consumption of ultra-processed food and risk of cancer.

Design Population based cohort study.

 

Setting and participants
104 980 participants aged at least 18 years (median age 42.8 years) from the French NutriNet-Santé cohort. Dietary intakes were collected using repeated 24 hour dietary records, designed to register participants’ usual consumption for 3300 different food items. These were categorised according to their degree of processing by the NOVA classification.

Main outcome measures Associations between ultra-processed food intake and risk of overall, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer assessed by multivariable Cox proportional hazard models adjusted for known risk factors.

 

Results Ultra-processed food intake was associated with higher overall cancer risk (n=2228 cases; hazard ratio for a 10% increment in the proportion of ultra-processed food in the diet 1.12 (95% confidence interval 1.06 to 1.18); P for trend<0.001) and breast cancer risk (n=739 cases; hazard ratio 1.11 (1.02 to 1.22); P for trend=0.02). These results remained statistically significant after adjustment for several markers of the nutritional quality of the diet (lipid, sodium, and carbohydrate intakes and/or a Western pattern derived by principal component analysis).

 

Conclusions In this large prospective study, a 10% increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet was associated with a significant increase of greater than 10% in risks of overall and breast cancer. Further studies are needed to better understand the relative effect of the various dimensions of processing (nutritional composition, food additives, contact materials, and neoformed contaminants) in these associations.

Full reference: BMJ 2018; k322
The following news stories may also be of interest:

The Independent Processed food, sugary cereals and sliced bread may contribute to cancer risk, study claims

BBC News Ultra-processed foods ‘linked to cancer’ 

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Eating plenty of wholegrains cuts your risk of bowel cancer, according to a new report.

Wholegrains and bowel cancer – what you need to know | CRUK

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Eating plenty of wholegrains cuts your risk of bowel cancer, according to a new report. And it seems we can reap the benefits without making wild changes to our diets .

The news comes from a report produced by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), outlining the latest evidence on how we can reduce our risk of bowel cancer.

It focusses on the effects of diet, weight, physical activity and alcohol on bowel cancer risk. And with bowel cancer being the fourth most common cancer in the UK, finding ways to reduce our risk of the disease are important.

The WCRF studies all the evidence on a potential cause of cancer and decides whether that evidence is strong enough to support recommendations on ways we can reduce our risk.

Drinking coffee may help prevent liver cancer, study suggests

People who drink more coffee are less likely to develop liver cancer, an analysis of data from 26 studies has found | Story via The Guardian | BMJ

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Researchers have found that people who drink more coffee are less likely to develop hepatocellular cancer (HCC), the most common form of primary liver cancer – and the effect was also found in decaffeinated coffee.

Experts from the University of Southampton and the University of Edinburgh examined data from 26 studies involving more than 2.25 million participants.  Compared with people who drank no coffee, those who drank one cup a day had a 20% lower risk of developing HCC, according to the study, published in the journal BMJ Open.

Those who consumed two cups a day had a 35% reduced risk and for those who drank five cups, the risk was halved. They found the protective effect for decaf was “smaller and less certain than for caffeinated coffee”

Full story via The Guardian

Full reference: Kennedy OJ, Roderick P, Buchanan R, et al. Coffee, including caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma: a systematic review and dose–response meta-analysis

Chance of colon cancer recurrence nearly cut in half in people who eat nuts

Something as simple as eating tree nuts may make a difference in the long-term survival of patients with colon cancer, a new study concludes.American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) | ScienceDaily | 18th May 2017

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An observational study of 826 patients with stage III colon cancer showed that those who consumed two ounces or more of nuts per week had a 42% lower chance of cancer recurrence and 57% lower chance of death than those who did not eat nuts.

A secondary analysis revealed the benefit of nut consumption was limited to tree nuts. Tree nuts include almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, and pecans, among others. These findings will be presented at the upcoming 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Read more at ScienceDaily

Coffee consumption linked to reduced risk of liver cancer

Kennedy, O.J. et al. (2017) Coffee, including caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, and the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma: a systematic review and dose–response meta-analysis. BMJ Open. 7:e013739

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Objectives: To examine the association between coffee, including caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and assess the influence of HCC aetiology and pre-existing liver disease.

Conclusions: Increased consumption of caffeinated coffee and, to a lesser extent, decaffeinated coffee are associated with reduced risk of HCC, including in pre-existing liver disease. These findings are important given the increasing incidence of HCC globally and its poor prognosis.

Read the full article here

Obesity linked to heightened risk of certain cancers

Obesity is strongly linked to the risk of developing certain major cancers, according to a re-analysis of research published in The BMJ | OnMedica | BMJ

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Links between obesity and cancer risk are strongest for 11 cancers related to digestive organs and hormones, says the review. Obesity could also be linked to other cancers, but the quality of the evidence is not sufficiently strong to draw those conclusions yet.

Obesity prevalence has more than doubled over the past 40 years, and the evidence to date suggests that it is linked to a heightened risk of developing particular cancers, but methodological flaws in some published studies have weakened the strength of the associations found.

To better gauge the quality of the evidence and the strength of these associations, the researchers comprehensively reviewed published studies looking at obesity and cancer risk.

From among 204 reviews that analysed obesity measurements, such as body mass index (BMI), weight gain, and waist circumference, and the risk of 36 cancers, 95 included continuous measures of obesity.

Only 13% of the associations for nine cancers were based on strong evidence, meaning the results were statistically significant and excluded bias.

Strong associations were found in studies that looked at heightened risk of oesophageal, bone marrow, colon (in men), rectal (in men), biliary tract system, pancreatic, endometrial (in premenopausal women), and kidney cancers.

Read more via OnMedica

Link to the research: Kyrgiou M, Kalliala I, Markozannes G, et al. Adiposity and cancer at major anatomical sites: umbrella review of the literature. BMJ 2017;356:j477. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.j477

Grilled, Barbecued, and Smoked Meat Intake and Survival Following Breast Cancer

Parada, H. et al. (2017) JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 109(6)

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Background: Grilled, barbecued, and smoked meat intake, a prevalent dietary source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) carcinogens, may increase the risk of incident breast cancer. However, no studies have examined whether intake of this PAH source influences survival after breast cancer.

Conclusion: High intake of grilled/barbecued and smoked meat may increase mortality after breast cancer.

Read the full article here