Both genetics and diet play a role in how likely you are to develop colorectal cancer, but a new analysis has found consuming alcohol and white bread can increase your chances.
Researchers from the Zhejiang University School of Medicine, in China, used the UK Biobank to analyze how consuming 139 foods and nutrients were associated with colorectal cancer risk among 118,210 people.
The participants filled out online questionnaires about their food and drink consumption, with researchers following up 12.8 years later.
The scientists identified eight elements that affected cancer risk. Alcohol and white bread increased participants’ chances, while the other six elements lowered them.
According to the authors: “Ethanol in any type of alcoholic beverage is a known risk factor for CRC because its first metabolite, acetaldehyde, has been evaluated as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research.”
Previous research has shown the way women metabolize alcohol can have “serious ramifications for women’s health.”
“Over 100,000 cases of cancer a year were attributed to drinking.” said Dr. Suneel Kamath, a gastrointestinal oncologist at Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center in Ohio, told Good Morning America last year.
White bread, the analysis found, lacked the nutrients often associated with lowering cancer risk.
“Notably, whole grains are a major source of many vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that have anti-cancer properties and may influence CRC risk through several potential mechanisms,” the study noted.
The researchers found fiber, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and carbohydrate intake — the other six elements — lowered participants’ risk.
None of the remaining 133 elements were found to affect cancer risk, according to the analysis.
“The findings of this study reaffirm the well-established connection between lifestyle and dietary choices and the prevention of colorectal cancer,” Misagh Karimi, M.D., a medical oncologist and colorectal cancer specialist at City of Hope Orange County Lennar Foundation Cancer Center in Irvine, California, told Fox News Digital.
“These findings emphasize the critical importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle and dietary habits, which include limiting alcohol consumption and choosing a diet rich in high-fiber foods to mitigate the risk of cancer,” added Karimi, who was not involved in the study.