Diet and the risk of colorectal cancer

Researchers at Simmons College, in Boston compared the Alternate Mediterranean Diet (aMed) and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet in middle-aged adults.

First, the details.

  • 87,256 adult women and 45,490 adult men without a history of cancer were followed up to 26 years.
  • The aMed and DASH scores were calculated for each participant by using dietary information that was assessed up to 9 times during follow-up.
    • The aMed diet score includes only whole grains, separates fruit and nuts into 2 groups, eliminated dairy products, deducts points only for red and processed meats, and allows equal amounts of alcohol for men and women.
  • Relative risks for colorectal cancer were computed and adjusted for potential confounding factors.

And, the results.

  • There were 1432 cases of colorectal cancer among women and 1032 cases in men.
  • Comparing the highest intake to lowest intake of the DASH diet, there was a significant increased risk of colorectal cancer and colon cancer, with the lowest intake.
  • There was no association with rectal cancer when comparing highest to lowest DASH intake.
  • No association was observed with the aMed score.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Adherence to the DASH diet (which involves higher intakes of whole grains, fruit, and vegetables; moderate amounts of low-fat dairy; and lower amounts of red or processed meats, desserts, and sweetened beverages) was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.”

That’s good news.

More about the DASH diet is here.

11/21/10 18:36 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.