Yoghurt consumption has been associated with lower colorectal cancer (CRC) risk, but its relation to polyp risk is unknown. To investigate this issue, researchers assessed yoghurt consumption and risk for conventional adenomas and serrated lesions among nearly 90,000 participants in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and Nurses’ Health Study. The analyses were adjusted for demographic and lifestyle factors, and dietary information was updated every 4 years.
Men who consumed ≥2 yoghurt servings/week had significantly lower risk for conventional adenomas compared with non-consumers (adjusted odds ratio, 0.81). The association was stronger for high-risk adenomas (≥1 cm or with villous component or high-grade/severe dysplasia, or ≥3 adenomas), for which the risk reduction was 26%, and for colon adenomas compared with rectal adenomas. No association was seen for serrated lesions, except for large (≥1 cm) lesions (aOR, 0.48). In women, there were no associations between yogurt consumption and either conventional adenomas or serrated lesions.
Yoghurt may exert its beneficial effects in CRC prevention by a variety of mechanisms, including favorable microbiome alterations. Regular consumption of yoghurt may be a marker of other healthy lifestyle factors that decrease the risk for CRC and its precursor lesions. The lack of benefits observed in women, however, is not clear. In any case, the regular consumption of yoghurt is a reasonable recommendation to help decrease CRC risk, in addition to healthy eating habits, exercise, and avoidance of smoking.