It should come as no surprise that diet plays a big role in the development of colon cancer.
But there’s always a lot of debate about which dietary factors actually increase risk…and which reduce it.
So, I was glad to see that a recent meta-analysis attempted to shed light on the issue. Unfortunately, when I read through the research, I noticed there were some fatal flaws in its design.
Plus, because some of the findings went against the mainstream’s misguided dietary recommendations, the study authors tried to hem and haw, twist and shout, and backtrack away from their own findings!
Let’s jump right in…
Poor design and clear bias plague new analysis
For this new analysis of 45 previously published studies, the researchers looked at the effect of 109 different dietary factors on colorectal cancer (CRC) risk. And they found “convincing” evidence for a few factors…
First, they noted an increased CRC risk among people who consumed more red and processed meat compared to those who consumed less of it.
But this study suffers from the fatal flaw of lumping healthy, unprocessed red meat together with unhealthy, processed meat—like hot dogs. (Remember, studies that distinguish between the two types of meat always show that processed meat poses the problem…not natural, unprocessed red meat.)
In fact, an even bigger meta-analysis involving four million people from 61 previously published studies found no evidence to suggest that eating red meat—or even processed meat—raises disease risk in any way!
Second, the researchers looked at the effect of alcohol consumption on CRC risk. They said they found “convincing evidence” that consuming five or more drinks per day increased CRC risk. So, they recommended cutting alcohol intake as a way to reduce risk.
But remember—five drinks or more a day goes well beyond any moderate consumption. (And, in my view, it likely indicates a potential alcohol abuse problem.)
By comparison, there wasn’t a speck of convincing evidence for harm from consuming just one to two drinks per day. In addition, a wealth of previously published studies show major health benefits from enjoying this moderate amount!
The third factor the researchers considered was total dairy intake…
The analysis showed a direct link between higher intake of all dairy products (including cheese, milk, and yogurt) and a significant reduction in CRC risk.
But despite this clear finding, the researchers said in an interview that the link between total dairy intake and a lower CRC incidence finding was “highly suggestive,” but not “completely convincing.” They added that we need more research on the point. (You mean, more than the findings from 45 previously published studies?!)
Personally, I think they’re the only ones not completely convinced by this finding in the huge, new analysis. And their doubt probably relates to their medical bias…and the simple fact that eating full-fat, whole-milk dairy doesn’t fit their anti-fat narrative. (Although it does fit perfectly with the science.)
Now, here’s another interesting point…
The study found that a higher intake of dietary calcium was one of the biggest and most important factors to protect against CRC. (We’ve actually known about the importance of calcium for reducing colon cancer since the 1980s. In fact, I included a chapter on that topic in my first scientific textbook, published back in 1987.)
But if these researchers don’t recommend eating full-fat, whole-milk dairy (or any kind of red meat), then just where do they think all that precious dietary calcium will come from?
After all, you should NEVER supplement with calcium, as we know supplements can cause all sorts of health problems, including hardening of the arteries.
Five safe, effective ways to slash colon cancer risk
In the end, as with any large analysis, the devil’s in the details. And you can’t simply accept a headline in a mainstream story that eating red meat or drinking alcohol increases cancer risk. There’s a lot more to it, as this analysis clearly shows!
In fact, here are five, simple, science-backed ways to reduce colon cancer risk:
1.) Take a daily, high-quality B vitamin supplement. In another meta-analysis, there was a strong reduction in colon cancer risk among those who took folic acid (part of the B family of vitamins). As always, I recommend you take a daily, high-quality B vitamin complex—which contains all eight B vitamins, not just folic acid.
2.) Enjoy full-fat dairy every day. Eating dairy also appeared to lower colon cancer risk by up to 19 percent. And, as I mentioned earlier, you should only get your calcium through your diet—not through supplements. So, I recommend adding three daily servings of full-fat, whole-milk dairy to your healthy, balanced Mediterranean-type diet.
3.) Consider a daily aspirin. In the earlier meta-analysis, men and women who took a daily, low-dose aspirin (75 mg per day, as widely taken to prevent heart disease) ) had a 14 percent lower colon cancer risk. And those who took a higher dose of 325 mg per day had a 29 percent lower risk!
As you know, aspirin gets a pass from me because it’s an inexpensive, over-the-counter (OTC), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that’s been safely used by millions and millions of Americans for more than a century. Plus, it originally derives from a natural ingredient called salicylic acid in white willow bark and meadowsweet grass, which Native Americans used to combat pain and other common ailments.
Of course, big pharma and some experts try to discredit aspirin because it may cause gastrointestinal (GI) irritation and bleeding. They prefer you take their harmful, expensive prescription drugs instead. But when taken properly, aspirin has a very low risk of bleeding for most people. (Of course, if you’re concerned about GI effects, take a buffered aspirin—which includes an antacid.)
4.) Be choosey about fiber. The earlier meta-analysis also showed an association between dietary fiber and up to a 43 percent lower colon cancer risk. But as I reported in the very first issue of my monthly Insiders’ Cures newsletter, the guidelines on fiber are complicated (“Dietary fiber: Cancer cause or cure?”). (If you’re not yet a newsletter subscriber, now is the perfect time to become one.)
Generally speaking, the fiber in fruits and vegetables is healthier than fiber in grains (which can actually be dangerous for GI health and colon cancer). It’s an important distinction not known or understood by mainstream doctors or most “natural-know-it-alls.” So—skip the artificial fiber supplements or fake granola bars with added fiber and instead choose the items up next on the list…
5.) Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. The biggest protection against colon cancer…at a staggering 52 percent lower risk…came from consuming more fruits and vegetables. Again, there was no guidance given for how many servings a day you need to consume to gain the benefit. But as always, I simply advise enjoying five servings per day of fresh, organic produce.
And one last thing before I go…eating ultra-processed foods seemed to increase colon cancer risk by up to 21 percent. And that finding makes a lot of sense, as other studies show eating a lot of junk foods increases your risk of many other types of chronic disease…and bumps up your all-cause mortality risk!
In addition to following these five sensible guidelines, you have dozens of other safe, natural alternatives to help prevent, detect, AND treat colon cancer. I’ve outlined them all in my groundbreaking online learning tool, my Authentic Anti-Cancer Protocol. To learn more, or to enroll today, click here now!
“Confirmed: Diet Influences Colorectal Cancer Risk.” Medscape, 3/4/21. (medscape.com/viewarticle/946865)