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Can a Mediterranean diet help prevent colon cancer?

ANN ARBOR, Mich. Are all healthy eating plans the same when it comes to cancer prevention"

Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center are beginning a study to look at whether diet can impact a persons risk of developing colon cancer. Specifically, the researchers will compare a Mediterranean diet high in olive oil, nuts and fish with a standard healthy eating plan.

Overall eating patterns appear to be more important for cancer prevention than intakes of specific nutrients or food groups. We hope this study will give us an indication of the benefits that a persons diet can have on health, especially in terms of reducing the risk of colon cancer, says Zora Djuric, Ph.D., research professor of family medicine at the U-M Medical School and principal investigator on the Healthy Eating for Colon Cancer Prevention study.

The study will look at adults age 21 or older who have had colon polyps, colon cancer or a family history of colon cancer. Researchers hope to recruit 120 participants over three years. Participants will be randomly assigned to follow either the Mediterranean diet or the Healthy People 2010 diet for six months. A dietitian will work closely with each participant by telephone. Participants can choose foods they prefer from recommended food group lists.

The Mediterranean diet focuses on vegetables, whole grains, fruits, fish and olive oil. High fat meats and processed foods are limited. The comparison diet is the Healthy People 2010 diet, which is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services plan for healthy eating. The Healthy People 2010 diet involves eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and a moderate fat intake with limits on saturated fat.

Study participants assigned to the Mediterranean diet will be encouraged to limit polyunsaturated fats from foods such as corn oil in favor of monounsaturated fats from olive oil, nuts and fatty plant-based foods suc
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Contact: Nicole Fawcett
nfawcett@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
13-Jun-2007


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