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The Answer to a Colon Cancer Mystery

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Colorectal most cancers is the third commonest explanation for most cancers dying on the planet. Thankfully, the great micro organism in our intestine take the fiber we eat and make short-chain fatty acids, like butyrate, that shield us from most cancers. We take care of them, they usually take care of us. If we do nothing to colon most cancers cells, they grow. That’s what cancer does. But if we expose the colon cancer cells to the focus of butyrate our good bacteria make in our intestine once we eat fiber, the expansion is stopped in its tracks. If, nevertheless, the butyrate stops, if we eat healthy for less than at some point after which turn off the fiber the subsequent, the most cancers can resume its progress. So, ideally, we’ve to eat a lot of fiber-rich foods—which means entire plant foods—daily.

What concerning the populations, like these in trendy sub-Saharan Africa, the place they don’t eat a lot of fiber but still not often get colon cancer? Traditionallly. they used to eat a lot of fiber, however now their weight loss plan is centered around extremely refined corn meal, which is low in fiber—but they nonetheless have low colon most cancers rates. Why? This was explained by the fact that while they could be missing protecting elements like fiber, they are additionally missing cancer-promoting elements like animal protein and fat. But are they actually lacking protecting elements?

If you measure the pH of their stools, the black populations in South Africa have lower pH, which suggests extra acidic stools, despite comparable fiber intakes. That’s a good thing and should account for the lower cancer charges. But, wait a second. Low colon pH is brought on by short-chain fatty acids, which are produced by our good bacteria once they eat fiber, however they weren’t eating any extra fiber, suggesting there was one thing else as well as to fiber in their diets that was feeding their flora. And, certainly, regardless of low fiber consumption, the bacteria in their colon have been nonetheless churning out short-chain fatty acids like loopy. But if their bacteria weren’t eating fiber, what have been they eating? Resistant starch. “[T]he method of cooking and eating the maize [corn] meal as a porridge results in an increase in resistant starch, which acts in the same way as fiber in the colon,” as a prebiotic, a food for our good micro organism to produce the same cancer-preventing, short-chain fatty acids.

As I talk about in my video Resistant Starch and Colon Cancer, “[r]esistant starch is any starch…that is not digested and absorbed in the upper digestive tract [our small intestine] and, so, passes into the large bowel,” our colon, to feed our good micro organism. When you boil starches after which allow them to cool, a number of the starch can recrystallize into a type resistant to our digestive enzymes. So, we will get resistant starch eating cooled starches, reminiscent of pasta salad, potato salad, or chilly cornmeal porridge. “This may explain the striking differences in colon cancer rates.” Thus, they have been feeding their good micro organism in any case, but just with plenty of starch moderately than fiber. “Consequently, a high carbohydrate diet may act in the same way as a high fiber diet.” Because a small fraction of the carbs make it down to our colon, the extra carbs we eat, the extra butyrate our intestine micro organism can produce.

Indeed, nations where individuals eat probably the most starch have a number of the lowest colon most cancers rates, so fiber is probably not the only protecting issue. Only about 5 % of starch might attain the colon, in contrast to 100 % of the fiber, however we eat up to ten occasions extra starch than fiber, so it may probably play a vital position feeding our flora.

So, the protection Africans take pleasure in from most cancers could also be two-fold: a eating regimen high in resistant starch and low in animal products. Just eating extra resistant starch isn’t sufficient. Meat incorporates or contributes to the manufacturing of presumed carcinogens, similar to N-nitroso compounds. A research divided individuals into three teams: one was on a low-meat food regimen, the second was on a high-meat eating regimen together with beef, pork, and poultry, and the third group was on the identical high-meat weight-reduction plan however with the addition of plenty of resistant starch. The high-meat groups had 3 times extra of those presumptive carcinogens and twice the ammonia in their stool than the low-meat group, and the addition of the resistant starch didn’t appear to help. This confirms that “exposure to these compounds is increased with meat intake,” and 90 % are created in our bowel. So, it doesn’t matter if we get nitrite-free, uncured recent meat; these nitrosamines are created from the meat as it sits in our colon. This “may help explain the higher incidence of large bowel cancer in meat-eating populations,” together with the rise in ammonia—neither of which might be helped by just including resistant starch on prime of the meat.

“[T]he deleterious effects of animal products on colonic metabolism override the potentially beneficial effects of other protective nutrients.” So, we should always do a combination of much less meat and extra entire plant foods, together with exercise, not only for our colon, but in addition for common health.


This is a follow-up to my video Is the Fiber Theory Wrong?.

What precisely is butyrate? See:

For movies on optimizing your gut flora, see:

Interested in additional on stopping colon cancer? See:

If you’re eating healthfully, do you need a colonoscopy? Find out in Should We All Get Colonoscopies Starting at Age 50?.

When common starches are cooked after which cooled, a few of the starch recrystallizes into resistant starch. For this cause, pasta salad may be more healthy than scorching pasta, and potato salad could be healthier than a baked potato. Find out more in my video Getting Starch to Take the Path of Most Resistance.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you’ll be able to subscribe to my free videos right here and watch my reside, year-in-review shows:




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