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Nut consumption and risk of colorectal cancer in women



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.


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.


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.


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

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This study is supported by the Grants P01 CA87969, P50 CA127003 and 1U54CA155626 from the National Institutes of Health, and by the grant from the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation. We thank the participants and staff of the Nurses’ Health Study for their valuable contributions as well as the following state cancer registries for their help: AL, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, NE, NH, NJ, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA and WY. In addition, this study was approved by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) Human Investigations Committee. Certain data used in this publication were obtained from the DPH. The authors assume full responsibility for analyses and interpretation of these data.

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Correspondence to Y Bao.

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Competing interests

Dr Bao reported receiving a research grant from the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation. The sponsors did not participate in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; and preparation, review or approval of the manuscript. The remaining authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Yang, M., Hu, F., Giovannucci, E. et al. Nut consumption and risk of colorectal cancer in women. Eur J Clin Nutr 70, 333–337 (2016).

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