Dietary Fiber and Colon and Rectal Cancer Prevention

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A large new meta-analysis study indicates that a diet rich in whole grain foods significantly decreases colorectal cancer risk



DIETARY FIBER AND COLON AND RECTAL CANCER PREVENTION

For many years, it was widely believed that a diet rich in fiber, and rich in fresh fruits and vegetables in particular, significantly reduced the risk of developing colorectal cancer.  However, more recent public health studies have called this assumption into question.  As I extensively discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, there is ample clinical evidence that a so-called Mediterranean diet, which does include large amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables (as well as foods rich in unprocessed whole grains), dramatically reduces the risk of colorectal cancer and other GI tract cancers.  Now, a landmark new meta-analysis research study provides important new evidence that certain high-fiber foods may, indeed, be associated with a significantly reduced risk of colorectal cancer.  This comprehensive research study appears in the current issue of the British Medical Journal.

In this huge meta-analysis, 25 prospectively conducted public health studies, including 14,500 study volunteers, were analyzed; and the findings of this large clinical study may explain why recent large public health studies have not been able to confirm that a diet rich in all types of fiber can reduce colorectal cancer risk.  In this meta-analysis study, dietary fiber from fruit and vegetable intake did not appear to significantly reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer.  However, whole grain foods, including cereals rich in whole grains, did appear to significantly reduce colorectal cancer risk.  In fact, for each 10 grams of whole grain fiber consumed per day, colorectal cancer risk was reduced by a very significant 10 percent.  Among research volunteers who consumed at least three servings of whole grains each day, the risk of developing colorectal cancer was reduced by 17 percent.

The health implications of this meta-analysis study are highly significant.  First of all, the authors of this study included only prospectively conducted public health studies in their analysis, thus eliminating some of the major limitations associated with the more common retrospective “case control” studies that make up the majority of public health studies on diet and disease prevention.  (As I have often mentioned, retrospective case control and case series studies are very often flawed by “recall bias,” wherein the data that is collected is based purely upon the recollections of volunteers recruited into such studies.)  Secondly, the findings of this meta-analysis are supported by higher level research studies that have found that highly refined grains and cereals are stripped of important cancer-preventing nutrients and bulk fiber during processing.

While fresh fruits and vegetables (and brightly colored and dark green leafy vegetables in particular) have been shown by other studies to reduce overall cancer risk, this landmark meta-analysis study appears to reconcile the contradictory findings of previous cancer prevention studies regarding the impact of dietary fiber intake on, specifically, colorectal cancer risk.  Based upon the findings of this very important study, a diet rich in unprocessed, or minimally, processed, whole grain foods appears to significantly protect against colorectal cancer.  (For a much broader and deeper review of evidence-based approaches to cancer prevention, see my book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.)


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


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Dietary Fiber Significantly Reduces Risk of Death

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”



 

Dietary Fiber Significantly Reduces Risk of Death

Most of us already know that a high-fiber diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Numerous previous research studies have associated a high-fiber diet with a decreased incidence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some forms of cancer. However, there is very little research information available that directly links a high-fiber diet with a decreased risk of death from these or other diseases. Now, a newly published public health study puts some actual numbers on the potential health benefits of adding fiber to your diet. This study appears in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The NIH (National Institutes of Health)-AARP Diet and Health Study is an enormous prospective public health study, which has enrolled 219,123 men and 168,999 women between the ages of 50 and 71 years. All of these research study participants completed extensive dietary questionnaires, and all were closely followed for an average of 9 years.

During nearly a decade of follow-up, 20,126 men and 11,330 women participating in this study died of various causes. When the researchers compared the dietary fiber intake of the volunteers who died with those who did not die, several important findings were identified. High levels of dietary fiber intake appeared to decrease the risk of death for both men and women by about 22 percent, overall. A diet rich in fiber was also specifically linked to a significant reduction in the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease, infection, and respiratory disease in both men and women; while men (but not women) appeared to have a lower risk of death due to cancer if they consumed a fiber-rich diet. Finally, as has also been found in previous diet-based studies (including several of the Mediterranean diet studies that I cite in my book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race), dietary fiber from whole grains appeared to provide the greatest benefit in terms of reducing the risk of death due to all causes.

While this study suffers from the same limitations as all other survey-based public health studies, its prospective methodology and its enormous population of research volunteers make this a very powerful public health study. Its finding that a diet rich in fiber (derived from whole grains) significantly reduces the risk of death from the most common global causes of death offer all of us an important strategy to improve our health and longevity.



For a comprehensive guide to living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.





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