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Cut Fat, Protect Your Colon

Cut Fat, Protect Your Colon

Cheeseburgers and ice cream. We love to eat 'em, even though they clog our arteries and pad our bellies. But here's one more good reason to cut back: Cancer of the small intestine.

A large long-term study showed that high intakes of saturated fat -- the kind found mainly in dairy and other animal-based foods -- may bump up the risk for this rare but particularly dangerous form of cancer.

Multiple Risks in One
Saturated fat may increase the risk for this cancer because of the bile acids your body uses to digest the fat. These acids can cause oxidative stress and subsequent cancer-causing damage to the DNA in the small intestine. And cancer of the small intestine may be extra hazardous because it could jack up the risk of other forms of cancer, including colon and rectal cancers. (How often should you be screened for colon cancer? Find out here.)

Choose Wisely
In the study, saturated fat from dairy seemed particularly harmful. However, other research has shown that high calcium intake may be protective of your colon. So choose low-fat or nonfat dairy products, and think about a calcium supplement if you don't routinely get enough. Find out how eating too much red meat can raise your risk for colon cancer and a host of other diseases.

Say no to saturated fat at your next meal!

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