New research into diet and colon cancer has exonerated some foods that were once thought to increase the risk of the disease. At the same time, research has confirmed that some food favorites — such as processed meats — do indeed increase the risk.

Diet and Colon Cancer: Processed Meat Alert

In the United States, colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among men and women combined. As with many cancers, the most serious risk posed by food is simply eating too much of it. Obesity is linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer, particularly among men.

Avoiding red and processed meat in your diet continues to be the mantra for colon cancer prevention. Over 10 years, high consumption of red meat increases the risk of cancer in the lower colon and rectum by 30 to 40 percent. For men, high consumption is three ounces of red meat daily; for women, it’s just two ounces.

The connection between colorectal cancer and processed meats is even stronger. Over 10 years, high consumption — one ounce five to six times per week for men and one ounce two to three times