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Fiber and Colorectal Cancer Prevention: What the Research Says

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The role of dietary fiber in helping to prevent the development of colorectal adenomas, which are the precursor to colorectal cancer, has always been a bit vague. A recent review of medical literature published in the journal Gastroenterology, however, suggests that fiber does indeed have a protective effect.

Theoretically, dietary fiber, which may have a beneficial influence on gut microbiota while also increasing stool bulk and decreasing stool transit time, should have a protective effect. To this end, its role has been investigated intensively since the 1970s, but research findings have been inconsistent.

To assess the relationship between fiber intake and the risk for colorectal adenomas, a group of researchers in China recently conducted a meta-analysis of 20 studies involving nearly 11,000 people with colorectal adenomas. They found an inverse relationship—people who consumed more fiber had lower risk than those who consumed less.

The type of fiber consumed seemed to matter—the inverse association held up with fruit and cereal fiber consumption, but not with vegetable fiber consumption. However, these findings don’t mean you should stop eating vegetables, which provide a number of nutrients. The researchers noted that their findings need to be validated by further studies.

Posted in Colon Cancer on August 17, 2015


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