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Research shows that people who add salt to food are more likely to develop stomach cancer?


A study found that people who add salt to their food are 40% more likely to develop certain stomach cancers.




A 2024 observational study of more than 470,000 adults in Britain found that people with a higher salt intake were more likely to develop certain stomach cancers than those who ate little or no salt. However, the researchers noted that the findings cannot be generalized to broader populations due to the limitations of the study.

In May 2024, a post on Reddit’s r/science subreddit claimed that people who always or often added salt to their food were more likely to develop stomach cancer than people who rarely or never did so. The post had over 2,700 upvotes at the time of this publication.

Via a Google keyword searchSnopes found several news publications writing about the research referenced in the Reddit post, including News Medical Life Sciences, Newsweek, Technology networksAnd Medical news today. The study, “Adding salt to food at the table as an indicator of gastric cancer risk in adults: a prospective study”, was published in the peer reviewed scientific journal Gastric Cancer on April 17, 2024.

Researchers from the Center for Public Health, Medical University of Vienna analyzed the data of more than 470,000 adults UK Biobank, a large-scale British biomedical database. Questionnaires administered between 2006 and 2010 included questions such as: “How often do you add salt to your food?” The responses were compared with measurements of the study participants’ urinary salt excretion, as well as with data from national cancer registries.

According to a press release According to the institute’s publication, people who said they regularly salted their food were “41% more likely to develop stomach cancer than those who left their salt shakers untouched” for 11 years. (A English version of the press release is also available on the science news website EurekAlert.)

“Our results also withstood the consideration of demographic, socioeconomic and lifestyle factors and were equally valid for prevalent comorbidities,” study author Selma Kronsteiner-Gicevic said in the press release.

Researchers noted several limitations in their study. For example, they could not assess the influence of certain characteristics such as gender, age, ethnicity or smoking status. It was also an observational study, meaning other outside influences may not have been fully taken into account. Because the study participants volunteered, the findings cannot be generalized to the general UK population – or beyond – due to participation and age restrictions present in the UK Biobank cohort.

Regardless of the limitations, the findings add to a growing body of evidence supporting the potential role of salt in gastroenterological cancers. Research published in 2009 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology found that salt “can cause stomach cancer by directly damaging stomach mucus” and that “significant evidence” suggests that limiting salty foods is a “practical strategy for preventing stomach cancer”

A systematic review will also be published in the journal in 2021 Limits in nutrition found that “High intakes of salt, pickled foods, and processed meats are associated with significantly increased risks of stomach cancer; these increased risks are also seen when participants consumed moderate amounts of salt.”

In 2022, scientists concluded in the journal Nutrients that a higher dietary salt intake increases the risk of stomach cancer.

According to this publication, stomach cancer is the fifth most common form of cancer worldwide World Cancer Research Fund International. The agency notes that there is strong evidence that consuming foods preserved in salt increases the risk of stomach cancer.

Although the risk of stomach cancer increases with age, experts have noted an increase in gastrointestinal cancers, such as those of the stomach, liver, pancreas and colon. younger people, especially women. The cause is not entirely clear, but researchers speculated in 2023 it could be related to shifts in dietary habits, increased intake of processed foods and higher rates of obesity, as well as other unhealthy behaviors, diet and physical activity.

The authors of the 2024 study say the findings will help highlight stomach health and its relationship to diet.

“With our research we want to increase awareness of the negative effects of extremely high salt consumption and provide a basis for measures to prevent stomach cancer,” says researcher Tilman Kühn.


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