High Fiber Diet = Low Incidence of Colon Cancer?

The high fiber diet theory can be traced back to the early 1970's when Dr Denis Burkitt (1911-1993), a British missionary doctor, reported a dramatic difference between colon cancer rates in America and Africa.

[Read about the life, work and legacy of Dr Denis Burkitt.]

In his book, Don't Forget Fiber in Your Diet, he wrote:

"In countries where the prevalence of large bowel cancer is low, polyps of the bowel are rare; this includes most of Asia and the whole of Africa. In Africa, polyps are extremely rare.

For instance, only six patients with polyps were detected over a period of thirteen years in a South African hospital with over 2000 beds and high medical standards."

Dr. Burkitt believed that the Africans' high fiber diet protected the natives from bowel disease. However, several recent studies have shown the high fiber diet theory to be incorrect, as reported by the Associated Press in 2000:

Fiber Doesn't Prevent Cancer

By Emma Ross -- AP Medical Writer

October 13, 2000

LONDON (AP) - Evidence is mounting that fiber might not prevent colon cancer after all, with a new study suggesting that one type of supplement might even be bad for the colon.

The theory that a high fiber diet wards off the second-leading cancer killer has been around since the 1970s, but the evidence was never strong. The concept began to crumble last year when the first of three major U.S. studies found it had no effect…

(Read the full article on Aetna Intellihealth website.)


Other studies have also cast the high fiber theory in doubt, as reported on Medpage Today and the Boston Globe:

No Fiber Benefit Found for Colorectal Cancer

By Michael Smith -- MedPage Today Staff Writer

December 13, 2005

BOSTON – Dietary fiber doesn't reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. That's the conclusion of researchers here who analyzed data from 13 prospective cohort studies -- involving nearly three-quarters of a million people -- on the link between fiber and cancer.

"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.

The finding adds to the cloud of uncertainty surrounding dietary fiber, said Kathleen M. Zelman, in this WebMD feature:

"Can Fiber Help Protect Against Cancer?"

Doubts Cast On Fiber's Effect On Cancer

By Liz Kowalczyk -- Boston Globe Staff Writer

December 14, 2005

Eating a lot of fiber-rich vegetables, fruits, and whole grains does not appear to reduce a person's chances of getting colorectal cancer, researchers found in the largest study yet to test the popular and longstanding idea about preventing the third most common cancer.

(Read the full article on Boston Globe website.)


Well, if a high fiber diet does not reduce the risk of colon cancer, what then could be the underlying cause? The answer, as revealed by Ross Horne in his remarkable book Cancerproof Your Body, may come as a surprise to you:

"A Lesson from The Navajos".


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