High fibre diet may not prevent colon cancer

April 25, 2000 in Cancer Prevention, Gastrointestinal Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

High fibre diet may not prevent colon cancer

Or, more correctly, colorectal polyps. Two studies were reported last week in the New England Journal of Medicine that suggest high fibre diets do not lower the risk of colon cancer.

In one study, more than 2000 men and women (who had already has at least one colorectal polyp removed) were assigned to either their regular diet or a diet containing 20% fat calories, 18 grams of fibre, and 3.5 servings of fruits and vegetables per 1000 calories. After 4 years, there was no difference in the development of polyps.

In the second study of more than 1400 men and women (also with a history of polyps) adding wheat bran to the diet did not appear to make much of a difference in the appearance polyps.

Does this mean you should give up on your high fibre diet? No way. Colon cancer is a slow process and it's possible that dietary changes affect the process before the development of polyps. These people were given high fibre diets after hey had polyps. The study might not have been long enough to detect any effects of dietary changes.

It's is also possible that a low fat high fibre diet might affect the progression of polyps, not cancer. For better health, strive for 25-35 grams of fibre per day and at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables everyday.

Polyps aside, there are plenty of other health benefits to eating a low fat high fibre diet.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.