Diet, obesity and excess body fat are more closely linked to cancer than previously thought, a research report suggests.
The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) study reveals that there is “convincing” evidence that excess body fat is associated with six different types of cancers, including those which affect the breast, bowel and pancreas.
And the report’s authors found that people at the lower end of the healthy weight range have less risk of developing cancer than those who are obese.
The WCRF report is based on an in-depth analysis of 7,000 cancer studies from around the world which have been carried out over the last 40 years.
Researchers examined whether individual foods and diets can be factors relating to the development of cancer.
They concluded that processed meat, including ham and bacon, is such a risk factor for bowel cancer that people should avoid it completely.
The panel also recommended that people consume less than 500g of cooked red meat per week.
Elsewhere, the report offers mixed messages about milk and dairy products. Milk is thought to protect against bowel cancer, and possibly bladder cancer.
But high-calcium diets – which tend to include dairy products – were shown to be a probable cause of prostate cancer.
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