Swedish researchers have discovered an inverse relationship between the high intake of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in high-fat dairy foods and a lower risk of bowel cancer.

In the study, which is reported in the October issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers analyzed data from 61,000 women aged 40 to 76 years who participated in the Swedish Mammography Cohort.  Fifteen years after that initial study, they followed up with the participants to determine how many had developed bowel, or colorectal cancer -- 800 women, or 1 percent, had.

Study findings include:

  • Participants who consumed at least four servings per day of high-fat dairy foods reduced their risk for contracting bowel cancer by 41 percent as compared to those who only consumed one serving of dairy a day.
  • When age and other factors were considered, every two servings of high-fat dairy foods per day lowered the risk of colorectal cancer by 13 percent.