We all know about the bad health affects of fried foods and too much red meat. But now those foods may be responsible for developing the serious bowel condition known as ulcerative colitis.
Researchers found a connection between linoleic acid, a type of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid found in red meat and fried foods, and ulcerative colitis. More specifically, the researchers found that those people they examined who had a diet higher in linoleic acid were nearly two and a half times more likely to develop ulcerative colitis than those who ate the least of it.
The study was more thorough than most, as it followed more than 200,000 adults from 30 to 74 years old from the U.K., Germany, Italy, Sweden, and Denmark.
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease where the lining of the large intestine becomes inflamed and ulcerated. It causes major discomfort with symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and even bleeding. The cause of the condition is still not fully understood, but this current study supports the suspicion that diet may play a role.
There is a genetic component to ulcerative colitis. Certain populations, such as whites of northern European descent, seem to be more susceptible to the condition. But there is some doubt from experts on how important genes are to having ulcerative colitis.
“Simply having the genes is probably not enough to develop ulcerative colitis,” says Dr. Regueiro, gastroenterologist and co-director of the inflammatory bowel disease center at the University of Pittsburgh.
Ulcerative Colitis is a relatively rare condition, with about 10 people in 100,000 being affected by it each year. But researchers say that number could be cut by a third could be prevented if people changed their diet and consumed less linoleic acid foods.