Consumption of fat and fatty acids appears to have no association with colorectal cancer, neither protecting against nor increasing the risk, according to recently published results from an ongoing study in Sweden.
Through a questionnaire, the Swedish researchers assessed the food consumption of over 61,000 cancer-free Swedish women aged 40 to 74. Ten years later, in 1998, the researchers found 460 cases of colorectal cancer: 291 of colon cancer, 159 of rectal cancer and 10 cases of both.
The investigators looked at consumption of saturated and monounsaturated fats and different types of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including omega 6's found in soy and sunflower oil and omega 3's found in rape oil and marine fatty acids such as salmon or mackerel.
The researchers expected that omega 6's would be associated with an increased colorectal cancer risk and that omega 3's would be protective. Instead, they found that total fat intake, including saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, had no association with colorectal cancer risk.
This study looked at a population of women who have a low intake of total fat in general. The findings do not mean that people should not eat too much fat or any fat that they want because consumption of large amounts of fat can lead to obesity, which is associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer and other problems.
In other related studies the research team has found that polyunsaturated fats are associated with a lower risk of heart and blood vessel disease and that consumption of fatty fish like salmon and mackerel is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer. Their studies have found that those who don't eat fatty fish have a three times higher risk of dying from prostate cancer.
They encourage a balanced way of eating when it comes to fat intake‘more fish. More olive oil’but not too much.
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