New research by the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill has suggested that a high intake of trans fats could increase colon cancer risk.
Trans fats are formed by processing vegetable oils to increase their shelf-life, and are found in several snacks, baked goods, and other packaged foods. It has been shown previously that consuming trans fats increases levels of LDL-cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol), which has been linked with increased heart disease. Most health authorities recommend that people avoid eating then completely.
To investigate the effects of trans fats on colon cancer, the researchers looked at 622 people who had colonoscopies at University of North Carolina Hospitals in 2001 and 2002. The participants were interviewed about their diet, exercise, and other health issues within 12 weeks of having the screening test.
People who consumed higher amounts of trans fats (typically 2.54 grams daily), were 86% more likely to have colon polyps than those who consumed much lower amounts of trans fats (3.63 grams daily).
Among the 38.5% of study participants found to have colon polyps, average trans fatty acid intake was 4.97 grams. The average intake for those who did not have colon growths was 4.42 grams.
Dr. Lisa C Vinikoor of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill states, “these results provide further support for recommendations to limit consumption of trans-fatty acids.”
I have read several nutritional experts recommend eating foods in their most natural state, and this study provides further proof that processed foods are very detrimental to health. One common piece of advice is if you cannot imagine your food as something that grows in the earth or gets its food from something that grows in the earth, then you probably should not eat it. For example, I’ve never heard of a Twinkie tree.