Nut consumption and risk of colorectal cancer in women

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2016 Mar;70(3):333-7. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2015.66. Epub 2015 May 6.


Background/objectives: Increasing nut consumption has been associated with reduced risk of obesity and type II diabetes, the risk factors for colorectal cancer. However, the association between nut consumption and colorectal cancer risk is unclear. We aimed to examine the association of long-term nut consumption with risk of colorectal cancer.

Subjects/methods: We prospectively followed 75,680 women who were free of cancer at baseline in the Nurses' Health Study, and examined the association between nut consumption and colorectal cancer risk. Nut consumption was assessed at baseline and updated every 2-4 years. Relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were estimated using Cox proportional hazards models.

Results: During 2,103,037 person-years of follow-up, we identified 1503 colorectal cancer cases. After adjustment for other known or suspected risk factors, women who consumed nuts 2 or more times per week (that is, ⩾ 56 g per week) had a 13% lower risk of colorectal cancer compared with those who rarely consumed nuts, but the association was not statistically significant (RR: 0.87; 95% CI: 0.72-1.05; P-trend: 0.06). No association was observed for peanut butter.

Conclusions: In this large prospective cohort of women, frequent nut consumption was not significantly associated with colorectal cancer risk after adjusting for other risk factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nuts*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires