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Kyung Hee University conducted a study that found plant-based diets reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. However, these results were only applicable to men. The researchers also found that men of some ethnicities were more likely to benefit from the diet than others. For instance, white men on a plant-based diet were less likely to develop colorectal cancer than men of other ethnicities.

How researchers conducted the study

For the study, the researchers gathered 80,000 men. Their findings indicated that these men were 24% less likely to develop colorectal cancer after going on a plant-based diet. The researchers also evaluated 94,000 women. However, they did not find any correlation between a plant-based diet and the risk of colorectal cancer in this group.

According to Dr. Jihye Kim, a study author and professor at Kyung Hee University’s medical nutrition department, it is one of the three most common cancers globally. He adds that the risk of colorectal cancer for women is 1 in 25 and 1 in 23 for men.

He explained that many studies had evaluated the link between colorectal cancer and a plant-based diet. Despite this, these studies have not assessed the extent to which nutrition could reduce the disease risk.  Fortunately, this new study finds a significant reduction in the risk of colorectal cancer for people on plant-based diets.

How plant-based diets prevent colorectal cancer

 Dr. Kim states that whole grains, fruits, and vegetables contain antioxidants that prevent the chronic inflammation that leads to colorectal cancer. Furthermore, men have a higher risk of colorectal cancer than women. This is why a change in the diet lowered their risk while having little effect on women.

The researchers also evaluated the benefits of a plant-based diet for people of varying ethnicities. They found that Japanese American men had 20% less chance of contracting colorectal cancer when on a plant-based diet. White men reduced their risk by 24%. Latinos, African-Americans, and Native Hawaiian men showed no significant risk reduction. Dr. Kim speculates that the reason is that these groups have less risk of developing colorectal cancer. He adds that more data is needed to prove the results of this study.