You may want to steer clear of the snack aisle. Fatty, sugary foods are associated with the development of colorectal cancer, suggests a new study from the University of Edinburgh.
Researchers analyzed the diets of both healthy people and colorectal cancer patients (including over 170 foods) and found that high-fat and high-sugar foods (like chips and cakes) and sugary drinks were linked to a 18% and 12% higher cancer risk, respectively.
The researchers aren’t quite sure why, but one obvious guess is that the offending foods are higher in calories, says study coauthor Evropi Theodoratou, PhD. (A high-cal diet and obesity have both been linked to colorectal cancer in other studies.)
Those gut-busting snacks accounted for 20% of the participants’ calorie intake in the study.
About 143,000 new cases of colon or rectal cancer will be diagnosed this year in the U.S. And while you can’t control some risk factors, like family history, you can manage others, like maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, not smoking, and sticking to two alcoholic drinks per day.
To decrease your risk through diet, other studies suggest filling up on fiber, fruits, and vegetables, and limiting red and processed meats.