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Trans Fats Linked To Increased Risk For Colon Cancer

August 30, 2008

According to a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, consuming a large amount of trans fats could increase the risk of colon cancer.

Dr. Lisa C. Vinikoor of the University of North Carolina, found that people who had a high intake of trans fatty acids were more likely to have pre-cancerous polyps in their colon than those with a low trans fat intake. 

“These results provide further support for recommendations to limit consumption of trans-fatty acids,” said Vinikoor.

Trans fats are created by processing vegetable oils so they can last longer, and are found in many baked and packaged snacks.  Eating products with trans fats increases “bad” LDL-cholesterol levels and can bring about increased risk for heart disease.  US food manufacturers are now required to label their foods with the amount of trans fat contained in the product.

According to Vinikoor, consuming trans fats can change the normal balance of bile acids in the colon, therefore increasing the risk for colon cancer.

Vinikoor and her team studied 622 people who had colonoscopies in 2001 and 2002.  Participants in the study were questioned about their physical activity, and diet during the 12 weeks of testing.

Those who consumed the most trans fat were 86 percent more likely to have colon polyps than those who consumed the least.  The top fourth of the study, with the increased risk, consumed 6.54 grams of trans fat per day. Those outside of the top group averaged 4.42 grams of trans fat per day.

Vinikoor and her team added that the findings back current recommendations to limit trans fat consumption.

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