Resolved to cut back on processed foods? New research suggests increase in risk of colon cancer

If your goal is to eat more fresh and whole foods in 2023, new research gives you more incentive. Before planning your Super Bowl menu, doctors point out the foods you might want to avoid.

Processed foods come in handy when you’re in a hurry, but the latest evidence continues to show how these hot dogs and other packaged meals can negatively impact our health.

A recent study found that ultra-processed foods may increase the risk of colon cancer in some people.

“Men are actually at higher risk if they have a diet pattern that includes a lot of ultra-processed foods,” said registered dietitian Amanda Bode of the Cleveland Clinic.

The study found that men who ate the most processed foods had a 29% higher risk of developing colon cancer than men who ate the least.

Bode said the study didn’t find the same association in women and it’s unclear why.

She said more research is needed to understand why eating lots of ultra-processed foods increases colon cancer risk in men.

One theory is that additives and preservatives in highly processed foods can affect gut health.

She emphasizes limiting foods like processed meats, ready-made soups, packaged snacks and sweets — and eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins instead.

“We’re seeing a lot more studies showing that a healthy diet is important to reducing the risk of colon cancer, and that’s especially true if you have that in your family,” she said.

The first thing to try are simple switches. Bode said he chooses a baked potato instead of fries and substitutes Greek yogurt and fruit for sugary yogurt and ice cream.

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