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Crude fiber, ash, fruits and vegetables best fighters against colon cancer.


By now, it is commonly accepted that increased fiber in the diet can significantly reduce the risk of colon cancer. Just how fiber is related to the development of colon cancer is the subject of a study conducted in Utah on 231 colon cancer cases and 391 controls between 1979 and 1983.

The Utah study tested males and females seperately for the effects of crude fiber, neutral detergent fiber, dietary fiber, starch and ash on their digestive systems. In both sexes, researchers discovered it is crude fiber and ash, rather than starch, dietary fiber and neutral detergent fiber, that primarily determine decreased colon cancer risks. Dietary fibers--such as gums, pectin and mucilage (normally found in oat products)--are water soluable, unlike neutral detergent fibers (cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin--available in wheat products). Crude fiber is what is left over after the soluable fibers have been removed and only varying amounts remain of the insoluable fibers not already destroyed by the body's acids and alkalis.

Researchers also tested participants for the effects of fruits, vegetables and grains; increased fruit consumption seemed to help the men more, whereas the women's systems seemed to prefer vegetables. In both, increased grain consumption seemed to have little or no effect. Besides colon cancer, the lack of fiber in one's diet can also lead to such disorders as appendicitis, diverticulitis, coronary disease, obesity and hemorrhoids.

The Utah study's data indicate that fiber components may exert influence in different parts of the colon and that different risk patterns exist for males and females, which is consistent with previous studies. Because of the relatively small number of participants in the study, study head Dr. Martha L. Slattery of the University studies in the future to test her study's findings. (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, November 16, 1988; 80:1474-80.)
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Title Annotation:research in Utah
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Jan 1, 1989
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