Past studies examining the effect of meat intake and legumes on colon cancer have shown that people eating meat, associated with an increased risk of colon cancer, may receive some protection when they also consume legumes. Dr. Tantamango says this suggests that besides fiber content, there may be something else present in legumes that provides a protective effect.
Researchers analyzed data from 2,818 subjects who participated in Adventist Health Study-1 (administered from 1976-77) and who answered a follow-up survey 26 years later from Adventist Health Study-2. The first survey asked respondents to indicate how often, on average, they consumed specific foods. The follow-up survey asked respondents who had undergone colonoscopies to indicate physician-diagnosed colorectal polyps. During the 26-year follow-up, 441 cases of rectal/colon polyps were identified.
The study assessed several possible confounding factors, including a family history of colorectal cancer, education, physical activity level, alcohol intake, smoking, constipation, intake of sweets, pain medication, and multivitamins, as well as different food variables. The study then adjusted for those factors that were shown to distort the effect of the foods and food groups under study. About 25 foods and food groups in total were examined.
Dr. Tantamango says there is a need for future studies to examine foods shown to reduce the risk of colon polyps, since it is possible that interactions between various nutrients with anti-cancerous properties will be better able to explain these findings.
|Contact: Heather Reifsnyder|
Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center