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Fiber may not lower colorectal cancer risk
www.chinaview.cn 2005-12-14 08:55:03

A new study has shown that dietary intake of fiber doesn't lower a person's risk of developing colorectal cancer    BEIJING, Dec. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- A new study has shown that dietary intake of fiber doesn't lower a person's risk of developing colorectal cancer, but it is wise to consume fiber-rich plants for its beneficial effect on your heart.

    The researchers said that more fiber in the diet made no difference for colon cancer risk from 13 previous studies involving 725,000 men and women.

    A first look at the data did find a 16 percent lower incidence of the cancer in the 20 percent of people with the highest fiber intake. But then the researchers began compensating for other risk factors -- such as multivitamin use, folate intake, red meat consumption, milk and alcohol intake.

    "We did not find support for a linear inverse association between dietary fiber intake and risk of colorectal cancer," Yikyung Park, Sc.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health, and colleagues reported in the Dec. 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    On the other hand, the researchers concluded, fiber from whole plants has been shown to be beneficial in other disorders, including heart disease and diabetes, so there's good reason to keep eating it.

    Fibers often are characterized by the foods that contain them -- cereal fiber, vegetable fiber, fruit fiber, said Dr. John A. Baron, professor of medicine at Dartmouth Medical School, who wrote an accompanying editorial in the journal. 

    But there can be great differences between fibers in those families. Some fibers are soluble, some insoluble -- the insoluble type is believed to have the protective effect -- and studies generally do not distinguish between them, he said.

    "Doing research in this area is difficult, and part of the problem has been people making too optimistic or too-rapid decisions based on studies that have not been definitive," Baron said. Enditem


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