As colon cancer increases particularly in younger populations it is vital that we begin to disentangle contributing factors to this widespread disease.
Conventional medicine, relying mostly on epidemiology, asserts that meat consumption plays a significant role in colon cancer’s incidence. None of these correlation-based studies to my knowledge control for the consumption of carbohydrates in the diet of persons diagnosed. On the other hand, there is growing evidence that increased insulin resistance contributes significantly to the risk of this as well as all cancers. Along with insulin resistance obesity appears to predispose to colon cancer. This makes sense since central obesity is directly caused by excess carbohydrate consumption leading to hyperinsulinemia.
Theories that attempt to correlate meat consumption with colon cancer sometimes point to mTor and IGF-1 elevation in these individuals which might work against autophagy and apoptosis (which confer physiologic protection against cancer). Let’s be clear — -meat consumption in the context of a low or zero carbohydrate diet does not promote excessive mTor nor IGF-1. It is the confounding factor of carbohydrate consumption that both drives insulin and that prolongs mTor activity in the body thereby increasing the mTOR/AMP Kinase ratio over extended periods. When this balance is disturbed in this way abnormal growth cannot be controlled.
There are of course other factors that add to the potential risk for colon cancer. Inactivity, smoking, and genetics can all play a role. It is clear that inactivity and often smoking are found in the same populations that have insulin resistance. These are lifestyle choices that can clearly be reversed through proper education. Part of this education, however, must include a common sense that dispels the myth of the meat-cancer relationship. First control carbohydrate intake, total caloric consumption and engender the good habits of movement and exercise. In this way, genetics will hopefully be less likely to influence the incidence and possibly the course of this aggressive cancer.