Swapping American Diets for Low Fiber Food Dramatically Cuts Colon Cancer Risk in Just TWO Weeks

By Peter R - 30 Apr '15 09:55AM

That American and other western diets carried a higher risk of colon cancer compared to African or oriental diets, is well-documented. A new study now shows that the risk can be modified in just under two weeks by swapping diets.

A team of researchers from University of Pittsburgh and Imperial College London (ICL) got 20 African American volunteers to swap diets with 20 rural African volunteers for two weeks. Colonoscopy of the volunteers was done before and after the study. Researchers also measured cancer bio-makers. Before the start of the study nearly half of the American subjects had polyps in the colon. The African volunteers had no such risk factors.

Researchers found that after American volunteers consumed African diet high in fiber, their risk of cancer evinced through colon inflammation and other bio-makers, had significantly reduced. However the risk significantly increased for African volunteers who were put on American diet high that is rich in animal protein and fat.

"The findings suggest that people can substantially lower their risk of colon cancer by eating more fiber. This is not new in itself but what is really surprising is how quickly and dramatically the risk markers can switch in both groups following diet change. These findings also raise serious concerns that the progressive westernization of African communities may lead to the emergence of colon cancer as a major health issue," said ICL's Professor Jeremy Nicholson.

The study attributed the risk changes to the gut microbiome. A high fiber diet results in a metabolism end product called butyrate which has anti-cancer traits.

The study was published in the journal Nature Communications

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