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Sugary Snacks Linked To Colon Cancer; 1 in 20 Americans At Risk

By Rebekah Marcarelli r.marcarelli@hngn.com | Jul 16, 2013 04:39 PM EDT

Obesity Reshapes Our Sense of Taste By Changing How The Tongue Reacts To Food
Obesity Reshapes Our Sense of Taste By Changing How The Tongue Reacts To Food (Photo : Wikimedia commons)

Those midnight milkshakes could be increasing your risk of colon cancer.

Scientists in Scotland linked sugary snacks with colorectal cancer, along with the usual family history, smoking, and other lifestyle choices, the BBC reported.

The research team examined the diets of 2,000 people who had been diagnosed with bowel cancer, they compared the eating habits with those of cancer-free individuals.

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The study took about 170 foods into account, including chocolate, fish, and nuts.

There were two categories of diet looked at in the study. One group of people ate a healthy diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, the others ate a more "western" diet full of meat, fat ,and sugar

Those on the healthier diet had a decreased risk of colon cancer while people who ate a lot of fatty and sugary foods were more likely to be diagnosed with the disease.

 "What we have found is very interesting and it merits further investigation using large population studies," Dr Evropi Theodoratou, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences, said.

"While the positive associations between a diet high in sugar and fat and colorectal cancer do not automatically imply 'cause and effect', it is important to take on board what we've found - especially as people in industrialised countries are consuming more of these foods," she said.

Colon cancer is the second highest cause of cancer-related death in America, an average person has a one in 20 chance of getting the illness, the Colon Cancer Alliance reported.

Symptoms of early colon cancer include changes in bowel habits, blood in stool and narrow stools, weight loss, fatigue, abdominal discomfort, and nausea.

Most colon cancer deaths occur in people over the age of 50, but there have been cases seen in almost every age group.

The rate of deaths in people over 50 is declining, but an increasing amount of younger people have reported struggling with the cancer.

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