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Fruit juice could boost cancer risk

28th September 2011

Fruit juice, often considered one of our 'five-a-day', could actually boost the risk of colorectal cancer, Australian researchers have found.

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They say that eating vegetables like brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli is the best way to cut the risk of bowel cancer.

The large load of sugars carried by most fruit juices make them a potential risk, according to researchers writing in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Eating vegetable such as brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli significantly cuts the risk of developing colorectal cancer, a new research has found.

While total fruit and vegetable intake can cut the risk of colon cancer, they discovered that increased fruit juice consumption was linked to an increased risk for rectal cancer.

The team from Perth studied the eating habits of 2,200 adults using a questionnaire, and following their health status over the course of two years.

Their aim was to establish the relative effectiveness of different combinations of fruits, vegetables and juice in the prevention of colorectal cancer.

Over the course of the study, the lowest incidence of bowel cancer was linked to a daily intake of apples, sprouts, cauliflower or broccoli.

People who drank a large amount of fruit juice regularly were at greater risk, however.

Those who drank more than three glasses of fruit juice daily were more likely to develop rectal cancer in particular.

One possible explanation, they wrote, was that many of the beneficial substances found in fruit were actually lost during the commercial process of making juice.

These include fibre, vitamin C and antioxidants.

Government guidelines in the UK currently state that a glass of juice can form one of the recommended "five-a-day" portions of fruit and vegetables.

However, critics have already objected to this view, citing the high sugar content of fruit juice.

Some experts say it would be better to substitute dried fruit than commercially produced fruit juice.

There can be as much as five teaspoons of sugar per glass of fruit juice, even freshly squeezed.

UK Cancer Research expert Nell Barrie said larger studies would be needed to be sure of the Australian team's conclusions.

She said the study did not explain whether different fruits and vegetables can affect the risk of cancer in different parts of the bowel.

She said it was already clear that a high proportion of red and processed meats increased the risk of colorectal cancer, while foods that were high in fibre reduced it.

She said fruit and vegetables could also help prevent other types of cancer.

Colorectal cancers can be found in different locations in the large intestine: the proximal colon, the distal colon and the rectum.

 

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