Vegetarian diets are associated with a lower incidence of colorectal cancer, claims a study in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Nearly 80,000 adults from the Adventist Health Study 2 completed food-frequency questionnaires at baseline and then were divided into five dietary groups: vegan (8% of the population), lacto-ovo vegetarian (29%), pesco-vegetarian (10%), semi-vegetarian (6%), and non-vegetarian (48%).
During 7 years' follow-up, researchers documented 490 cases of colorectal cancer. Compared with non-vegetarians, all vegetarians combined had a significantly reduced risk for colorectal cancer (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.78). When examined by type of vegetarian diet, only pesco-vegetarians had a significant reduction in risk (hazard ratio, 0.57).
"The evidence that vegetarian diets ... may be associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer, along with prior evidence of the potential reduced risk of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and mortality, should be considered carefully in making dietary choices and in giving dietary guidance," the authors conclude.