Two studies suggest that avoiding consumption of meat and foods high in carbohydrates can lower colon cancer risk. Results of a study published in the Jan. 12, 2004, issue of the British Journal of Cancer show that vegetarians were 15 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer than participants who ate meat or fish. The study also found that those who ate more than five servings of fruit per week were more than 40 percent less likely than non-vegetarians to develop colon cancer.
The researchers, from Britain's University of Oxford, followed more than 10,000 people for 17 years. In the United States, a study that followed more than 38,000 women for about eight years showed that those whose diets included a lot of foods that rapidly increase blood sugar levels were nearly three times more likely to develop colorectal cancer than women who ate less of these foods. High glycemic-load foods include baked potatoes, pasta, refined flour products and sweets. Study results were published in the Feb. 4, 2004, issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.