Wearing your belt too tight could increase your chances of developing throat cancer, scientists say. Researchers say that since it increases the likelihood of acid reflux, cancer might not be too far down the line.
According to researchers from Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities and The Southern General Hospital in Glasgow, wearing a belt can force acid into your esophagus, damaging cells and increasing one's chances for developing throat cancer. People who are overweight were found to be more at risk, reports The Telegraph.
The scientists had 24 people with no history of acid reflux swallow a probe which took measurements before and after each person had eaten. Half of the test subjects were "average" sizes, while the others were overweight.
Even in healthy people, scientists found that wearing a tight belt caused a partial hiatus hernia, which increases the likelihood of acid reflux. This is also linked to cancer because the acid pushed up by wearing a belt can damage cells, causing them to change.
These changes were more dramatic in overweight subjects.
"Wearing a tight belt, especially if you are overweight, puts strain on the valve between the stomach and the gullet. This causes stomach acid to leak upwards into the gullet," said lead researcher Professor Kenneth McColl, of Glasgow University's institute of cardiovascular and medical sciences.
"Unlike the stomach, which is designed to withstand this, the gullet is damaged by the acid. This causes heartburn and, in the longer term, possibly esophageal cancer."
Throat cancer is still pretty rare, but the number of people with the disease has almost doubled in 30 years, leaving researchers increasingly interested in the potential causes. The rise has mostly been linked to obesity and acid reflux.
So far, the study hasn't left a good impression on observers. Comments on sites reporting on the story have criticized the media of publishing "pseudo-science" and scare tactics of the "everything causes cancer" brand. "What rubbish will they come out with next," wrote one observer.
Do you think that wearing the belt too tightly could cause throat cancer? The study was published in the British Medical Journal Gut.