Tufts Researchers Correlate Cancer with Bad Diets

May 28, 2019 | Cancer, Diet, Lifestyle, Oncology


Perhaps you are what you eat? Or, put another way, if you eat healthy foods you may stay healthier and possibly avoid cancer, according to a recent study published in the journal JNCI Cancer Spectrum.

Conducted by the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts, the research team analyzed cancer diagnoses among US adults from 2015 in addition to other national survey data. Their goal was to determine how many cancer cases were linked to diets low in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and those that are high in sugars and red meats.

Tufts Now reported the findings are comparable to the number of cancer cases linked to alcohol consumption which amounts to 4 and 6%. Excess body weight is linked to 7-8% of cases and lack of physical activity is associated with 1-2%.

Colorectal cancer had the highest link to poor diet. 38% of the 52,000 cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed in 2015 were diet-related. This compared to around 14,000 cancer cases of the mouth, pharynx and larynx, 3,165 cases of uterine cancer, and 3,060 of post-menopausal breast cancer.

The researchers are calling out for government-sponsored warning labels on red meats and other cancer-linked foods.

Lead Research/Investigator

Fang Fang Zhang, Researcher Tufts