“I can’t believe I ate the WHOLE thing.”
If you’ve ever said that—or something similar—with a groan, congratulations you’re perfectly normal. Because the truth is, we’re all guilty of overeating from time to time.
Maybe that meatloaf you had for dinner was so good you served yourself a second—or even third—helping. Or perhaps you couldn’t say no to that value-sized tub of “buttery” popcorn at the movies.
And overindulging on occasion is no big deal.
But if you find yourself chronically overeating, you’re compromising your health in countless ways. And that includes one you may never have expected.
Researchers say overeating can send your risk for colon cancer climbing. And I’ll explain why in a minute.
We don’t know exactly how many folks out there are routinely overdoing it. Some experts estimate at least 15 percent of us could be classified as “binge eaters.”
But with well over 30 percent of both men and women in America meeting the definition of obese, the number of people who eat far more than they can burn off is likely much higher.
And that’s putting them (and perhaps you) in the danger zone for colon cancer… the third most common cancer and second leading cause of cancer deaths here in the United States.
Overeating sends colon cancer risk skyrocketing
A team of researchers at Thomas Jefferson, Harvard University and Duke Medical School made this shocking discovery when they took a closer look at the intestinal linings of a group of tubby lab rats.
To everyone’s surprise, they discovered that the overeating was essentially sending an “off” signal to a critical hormone that stands between cancer and us. The hormone, called guanyalin, helps protect us from cancer by triggering special receptors in our intestines which discourage tumors.
But in the obese rats, the guanyalin activity had been dialed WAY back. And the receptors never got the proper jumpstart they needed.
In fact, according to the researchers, guanyalin activity is about 80 percent lower in folks who are the most overweight when compared to their thin peers. Which experts say is likely a large part of why obese folks also have a 50 percent higher risk for colon cancer.
You can start to bring that risk back down by making a commitment to more mindful eating. Overindulging often happens when we’re bored, distracted or stressed. So that’s when you need to be your most on guard.
Stock your pantry, fridge and fruit bowl with high protein and lower carb foods and healthier snacking options. They will fill you up so you feel satisfied and are less likely to overeat.
But don’t stop there.
4 MORE proven ways to lower your colon cancer risk
It turns out colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers there is. And while stopping the overeating is a critical first step there are a few more steps you can take to reduce your risk even further.
1. Commit to screening:
Mainstream medicine is guilty of over-screening for lots of things. Which can lead to anxiety and unnecessary procedures. But regular colorectal cancer screening between the ages of 50 and 75 is a worthwhile one.
Regular screenings can slash up to 85 percent of colon cancer cases and 60 percent of colon cancer deaths, according to experts. There are several tests options, which you can discuss with your doctor.
If you’re over 75, regular screenings may no longer be necessary, unless you’re in a high risk group. So check with your doc.
2. Quit smoking:
If you still smoke stop. Smokers have a higher risk for developing colon cancer. Plus they have a higher risk of dying from the disease.
3. Tweak your diet:
Treat the produce aisle like a pharmacy and fruits and vegetables like your medicine. Plant foods are packed full of cancer-fighting phytonutrients and antioxidants. So eat more of them.
Highly processed meats such as hot dogs and lunch meats are associated with a higher risk of cancer. The curing process causes certain cancer-linked compounds to form. Research has found folks who regularly eat processed meats have a 76 percent higher risk than folks who rarely do.
Swap them out for fresh grass-fed meats instead. And when grilling out avoid charring your food which creates cancer-linked compounds as well.
Unseating your seat more often will help you lose weight lowering you colon cancer risk. And a meta-analysis found folks who were the most active had a 24 percent lower risk of developing the disease than those who were the least active. Try to get at least a half hour of exercise every day.
Commit to these changes and you’ll slash your risk for this killer starting today.