Researchers at Aberdeen and Edinburgh universities have discovered for the first time a positive correlation between diets high in sugars and fats and instances of colorectal cancer, the BBC reports.
Drawing from the Scottish Colorectal Cancer Study, researchers analyzed the diets of 2,000 bowel cancer patients versus the diets of nearly 2,000 people who did not have the disease. Within those diets, the scientists narrowed in on 170 different foods to discover two very different patterns of consumption.
The first diet, dubbed the “western pattern” by scientists, consisted of high levels of meat and so-called “high-energy snack food” such as chips, chocolates, and nuts, and was associated with cancerous subject pool. Meanwhile, the healthier diet included more fruits and vegetables.
The study, which was funded by the UK’s Medical Research Council and published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, also examined the effects of physical activity and smoking on bowel cancer and scientists will likely attempt to reproduce the results across a higher population.