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Cooking up colon cancer.

Cooking up colon cancer

While human studies seem to finger fatty diets as a risk for colon cancer, animal studies haven't strongly supported that link. Noting that humans' high-fat diets usually include foods cooked at high temperatures, cancer bilogist W. Robert Bruce decied to investigate cooking's possible role in colon cancer. In the Nov. 1 CANCER RESEARCH, he and his co-workers report that cooking indeed appears to transform benign ingredients into ones that spur the growth of microadenomas--common colon abnormalities that can develop into malignancies.

Working at the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto, the researchers chemically induced small microadenomas in the colons of 152 mice and 83 rats. Then they fed the animals diets differing only in whether some component--20 percent by weight of the sugar (sucrose), protein (casein), fat (beef tallow) or some combination of these--had been cooked (to 324[degrees]F). After 100 days, animals whose diets contained either cooked sugar or protein cooked in fat showed three to five times as many large, precancerous microadenomas as any of the other groups. Further investigation revealed that the protein/fat result was due not to the beef tallow per se but to a more complete heating of the protein when cooked in tallow.

The findings suggest by-products of the cooked sucrose and casein can promote colon cancer development, Bruce says. Fat by itself also poses a risk, he notes, pointing to previous work in which his group found that animals on diets with 20 percent fat showed a 50 percent increase in microadenoma development compared with animals receiving 5 percent fat. However, he says, the fat risk clearly was much smaller than that associated with cooked casein or sucrose. The Toronto team is now trying to identify the cancer-promoting by-products in the cooked sugar and protein.
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Title Annotation:role of cooking in colon cancer
Publication:Science News
Date:Nov 10, 1990
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