A new study suggests a vegetarian diet, or one based on vegetables and fish, could lower your chances of getting colon cancer. The study focused on 77,000 Seventh-Day Adventists. Dr. Ronney Stadler, a colorectal surgeon with Baylor Medical Center in Irving, explains for KERA’s consumer health series, Vital Signs.
The study was spotlighted this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It focused on church members living near Loma Linda University in southern California.
From Dr. Stadler’s interview:
Why study Seventh-Day Adventists? “The Adventist population that they’re studying around Loma Linda University is an area in the United States where people tend to live seven to ten years longer than the rest of the population. They tend to smoke less, drink less, exercise more and tend to be less stressed than the rest of the country.
Study Results: Those who eat a vegetarian or plant-based diet had lower risk for colon cancer. “We don’t know why. We think it’s related to multiple factors: Vegetarians have a lower body-mass index. They have a tendency to be less obese than the rest of the population. There are proteins that are measured in our blood that only come from eating animal products, and those proteins may be a factor in the increased rate of cancer formation. Fiber has been shown to decrease the risk of colon cancer over time. The pesco-vegetarians –persons who consumed fish more than once a month and red meat less than once a month had the greatest risk reduction of colon cancer. The study is very useful in showing that you can reduce your risk of colon cancer by up to 20 percent.”