Barrett’s esophagus risk linked to heavy consumption of meat, fats

Patients who consumed the largest amounts of meat and saturated fats were at the greatest risk for developing Barrett’s esophagus in a recent case-control study.

Researchers administered the 110-item Block food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) to 151 patients with Barrett’s esophagus (BE) and 777 controls. Consumption of carboxymethyl lysine (CML) advanced glycation end-products (AGE) was determined for 216 foods included in the FFQ.

All participants were aged 40 to 80 years and had been treated at a medical facility in Houston between February 2008 and July 2011. Controls included patients who received elective esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) (endoscopy controls; n=521) and patients who received EGD during a screening colonoscopy (colonoscopy controls; n=256).

Mean CML-AGE consumption did not differ significantly between groups (6,871 KU/1,000 Kcal for cases vs. 6,803 KU/1,000 Kcal for controls; P=.73). Investigators noted significant positive correlations between CML-AGE consumption and consumption of total meat (r=0.61) and fat (r=0.54), cholesterol (r=0.56), saturated fat (r=0.53), protein (r=0.51) and eggs (r=0.27), while an inverse but not significant correlation was observed with dark green vegetables (r=–0.05, P=.13).

BE patients were more likely than controls to consume greater amounts of meat (OR=1.91; 95% CI, 1.07-3.38 for highest vs. lowest intake tertile) and saturated fat (OR=1.8; 95% CI, 1.02-3.16), while BE risk was numerically but nonsignificantly elevated with CML-AGE consumption (OR=1.63; 95% CI, 0.96-2.76). Adjustment for CML-AGE consumption attenuated the total meat (OR=1.61; 95% CI, 0.82-3.16) and saturated fat (OR=1.54; 95% CI, 0.81-2.94) associations with BE.

Li Jiao, MD, PhD

Li Jiao

“Higher intake of total meats and saturated fat may be associated with increased risk of [BE],” researcher Li Jiao, MD, PhD, department of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told “[AGE] and proinflammatory and pro-oxidant compounds found in meats may partially explain such an association.”

Jiao said a previous study suggested an inverse association between BE risk and consumption of dark green vegetables. “These two studies should prompt clinicians to advise their patients with GERD [to follow] a prudent diet that includes more consumption of leafy vegetables and less meats and fats,” he said.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.